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Prisoner placement is the process of ensuring that prisoners are placed in prison locations that are appropriate to prison security and management as well as prisoners’ individual welfare and rehabilitation needs.
Placement is managed by the Sentence Management Branch of Corrections Victoria.
Factors affecting prisoner placement include:
- prisoner’s security rating and relevant risk factors (including sentence length and risk of escape)
- programs and processes the prisoner requires to reduce their risk of reoffending
- risk the prisoner poses to their, or another prisoner’s welfare
- drug and alcohol use and treatment
- prison or other relevant institutional history
- medical or psychiatric conditions
- physical limitations or disabilities
- cultural background
- family issues (including children in custody)
- transitional requirements (to re-enter the community)
Any other matters relevant to the good order, security or management of the prison or the safe custody and welfare of the prisoner may also be considered.
Prisoners deemed to be in need of protection from other prisoners are placed in protection units within the prison.
When the prisoner arrives at their location, a 'local plan' is developed which outlines what the prisoner will do at that location.
On arrival in custody, prisoners are assessed to determine their appropriate security classification and prison placement. This process results in a sentence plan which includes a security rating and recommended activities to progress the prisoner through their sentence. This determines where the prisoner will be placed (i.e. which prison and which section of the prison).
Following this initial assessment and during a prisoner's sentence, the prisoner's progress is monitored and reviewed by the prison's Review and Assessment Committee. The committee reviews the prisoner’s security classification and placement. Sentence management is an ongoing process. Prisoners may be transferred several times during their sentence. The general principle is that most prisoners work their way down the security ratings during their sentence, resulting in a minimum security rating prior to release and allowing them to prepare for re-integration into the community.
While serving their sentence prisoners may apply in writing to the Committee for a change in classification. The Committee will then forward its recommendations to the Sentence Management Branch for a decision.
Security ratings enable prisoners to be matched to prison resources that can cater to their level of security risk. This includes escorting requirements as well as prison locations. In assigning a security rating to prisoners, Corrections Victoria aims to ensure that prisoners are managed in the least restrictive way based on an objective assessment of their security risk.
There are four security ratings and these are:
When determining a security rating, the risk the prisoner presents to prison security, the community, himself, herself or any other person must be considered having regard to one of the following:
- the nature of the offence
- the risk of the prisoner escaping, or attempting to escape
- the risk of the prisoner committing a further offence and impact on the community
- any risk the prisoner poses to prison management, security and good order
- any risk the prisoner poses to the welfare of himself or herself and any other person
- the length of the prisoner’s sentence or the maximum sentence applicable to the offences in respect of which the prisoner has been charged
- any other matter considered relevant to prison management, security and good order and the safe custody and welfare of the prisoner
See the Sentence Management Manual for more detailed information about prisoner placement issues.