Work and employment
Generally, all sentenced prisoners under 65 years of age are expected to work unless medically unfit to do so.
Prisoners, including those with disabilities and special security needs, are generally provided with the opportunity to work for at least 60 hours a fortnight, although some exceptions exist based on a prison's profile. Remand prisoners are also given the opportunity to work but are not required to do so. Prisoners are paid at a rate set by the Corrections Commissioner.
Types of work
Prison industries involve work contracted from outside the prison and through service-type industries. Employment in a prison industry emphasises developing work habits and skills that will help a prisoner to gain employment when released. Prisoners often undertake a vocational training program which is relevant to their prison work to gain qualifications that are recognised in the community.
The range of industries offered varies from prison to prison, but common examples include metal fabrication, manufacture of timber products, agriculture and horticulture programs.
Some prisoners also work in facility services such as the kitchen, laundry, cleaning, maintenance and gardening. Where possible, the types of industries provided reflect market trends and industry needs.
Prison meals are prepared by prisoners trained in culinary skills prior to or during their prison stay.
The Langi Kal Kal Angus stud plays an important role in the employment of prisoners, enabling them to gain skills in agriculture, low stress stock handling, animal husbandry, record keeping, rural studies module with Federation University, and much more. The Langi Kal Kal Angus website provides more information about this program
Prisoners who have a minimum security classification may work in the community. In some cases the prison will have contracts for work such as reforestation, minimising erosion and creating green corridors through joint ventures with Landcare.
The department's Landmate Environment program's website showcases its valuable work in rehabilitating prisoners and caring for Victoria’s environment. For more than 25 years, the program has supervised prisoners to work with community organisations managing environmental projects, such as Landcare groups and shire councils.
It provides participating prisoners with skills and positive work experiences that enhance their prospects for reintegration into the community. Types of work that Landmate crews can undertake include building fencing, tree planting, noxious weed and vermin control, and erosion reduction.
Landmate is run by Corrections Victoria’s Prison Industries Unit, with partial funding from the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
Education and training
To improve employment opportunities on release, prisoners are encouraged to participate in vocational education and training programs. Education programs are delivered at the prisons by local TAFE providers. While the range of programs offered varies from prison to prison, vocational education and training programs are structured to ensure prisoners are able to continue their course as they move through the prison system.
Types of vocational education and training programs
All prisoners, including those on protection or in management units, can access state and nationally-accredited education and training programs. These include:
- asset maintenance
- information technology
- Certificate of General Education for Adults
- transport and logistics
- licences (e.g. forklift and Construction Induction Card)
- small business management
Prisoners may also receive support to participate in distance education offered by education providers from outside the prison system.
Education Centres at each prison contain several classrooms, a small library, and computer labs. Eligible prisoners may be permitted to have computers in their cells for study or to assist them with their criminal trials. Victorian prisoners do not have access to the internet or to email services.