Public consultation on future use of Ashley Youth Detention Centre site for the development of a Northern Correctional Facility
On 9 September 2021, the Government announced the closure of the Ashley Youth Detention Centre (AYDC) within the next three years and the establishment of two new therapeutic facilities for youths in the north and south of the State. The Tasmanian Government is committed to building a Northern Correctional Facility to optimise the service delivery of the State’s prison service. While the reports from the investigations at the designated site on the Crown land on Birralee Road are currently being finalised, the closure of AYDC presents an opportunity to potentially consider the development of this project at this alternative location. Preliminary desktop assessment by the Department of Justice indicates that the site appears to be well suited as a location for a modern, fit for purpose correctional facility in northern Tasmania, with a custodial facility a permitted use within the current zone for the site under the Tasmanian Planning Scheme for the Meander Valley.
The Tasmanian Government is committed to engaging with the local Meander Valley community on the future use of the AYDC site before making any final decision. Therefore, we are seeking input from the community on the option of the future use of AYDC site for the development of the Northern Correctional Facility. Consultation with key communities and stakeholders will help inform the Government in making the decision on the future use of the AYDC site and it’s suitability for this important project.
The consultation process will be facilitated by the Department of Justice and will enable the community to have their say in a number of ways. Community engagement will include:
- a ‘shop front’ style information booth in Deloraine and its surrounds, to provide information to, and hear directly from, community members;
- this project website to include regular up to date information; and
- opportunities for the community to express their views and provide feedback either by phone, email or by written submission.
Further details on these engagement methods will be publicly advertised over the coming weeks.
Current Site for the new Northern Correctional Facility
It is important to note that no decision has been made on the future use of the AYDC site. In recognition of this, the current project will finalise the reports from the investigations that have been undertaken on the current Crown Land site at Birralee Road, with the intention to potentially still submit a Combined Planning Scheme Amendment (CPSA) and Development Application (DA) to the Meander Valley Council in 2022.
Tasmania currently has its main correctional facilities in the south of the State.
Almost half of the current offender population is from the north or north-west region of Tasmania. Families and support networks currently have to travel longer distances to visit them in the south of the State and many are not able to do so regularly. A new modern contemporary northern based correctional facility will alleviate some pressure on these groups and create a State-wide Tasmanian Prison Service.
A key part of the Government’s corrections infrastructure plan is the commitment to build a Northern Correctional Facility. The new facility will have a key focus on rehabilitation, reintegration, training and education opportunities for offenders and will allow them to be accommodated significantly closer to their families and support networks, which is expected to increase visitation rates and reduce recidivism. This focus on rehabilitation, education and reintegration strongly aligns with the establishment of the facility as primarily for sentenced offenders who are progressing through their sentences and starting to prepare for reintegration into the community as well as a Northern Remand Centre for people who have been detained in custody pending the outcome of their court appearances.
The Tasmanian Government is investing $270 million into this project. The project is expected to create hundreds of jobs during construction with flow on benefits to the Tasmanian community. Once the new correctional facility is operational, it will continue to support the local economy creating employment opportunities for a range of correctional and support staff and through the use of local contractors and suppliers, wherever possible.
The Northern Correctional Facility will have a rehabilitative focus and to deliver this, the Government will now invest in more maximum security facilities at the Risdon Prison Complex. This will include the necessary investment of $50 million into the development of a new maximum security unit within the existing Risdon Complex. This unit will help to alleviate the immediate bed pressures that exist for the most serious offenders and enable us to prioritise the Northern facility primarily for rehabilitation of offenders who are progressing through their sentences and starting to prepare for reintegration into the community.
Frequently asked questions
Go to our FAQ's page for more information about the new Northern Correctional Facility.
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