Increased prison capacity and programs to break the cycle of reoffending are among the key initiatives to reduce crime and keep Victorians safe which were announced in the 2019-20 Victorian State Budget which was released on 27 May 2019.
The Victorian Government is investing more than $1.8 billion to ensure that prisons are able to keep pace with demand. This includes funding for 1,600 new beds and new prison infrastructure across the State.
The expansion will include an extra 548 beds at the new Chisholm Road Prison and additional beds for the Ravenhall Correctional Centre.
With more prisoners on remand, $6 million has also been allocated for detailed planning, design, and community consultation for a new custody and courts complex. This new centre is planned to be built on land owned by the government near the Melbourne Assessment Prison, and will significantly improve the ability of the criminal justice system to manage growth in prison numbers, by delivering short-stay cells and additional courts for magistrates.
In addition to prison infrastructure, the government is also investing in rehabilitation and support to tackle the causes of crime and to reduce reoffending. This includes $20 million to develop programs for women prisoners, increasing mental health services, and reducing imprisonment rates for Aboriginal women.
An additional $22.7 million will be used to fund diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration programs, including the continuation of bail support programs, regional employment pathway brokers for community-based offenders, and extended drug and alcohol treatment services.