The state government is investing extra beds and upgrades to build a more secure prison system, with work set to start on a major construction project at Lara under a $134 million contract signed to expand the capacity of Barwon Prison by 196 beds.
The project is expected to create 140 jobs during construction, with targeted investment in local employment, social enterprises and jobs for disadvantaged Victorians as part of the government’s contract with construction firm Hansen Yuncken.
The new maximum-security beds are expected to be operational in 2022, enabling the prison to accommodate up to 706 prisoners in total.
As well as the cell accommodation blocks, a visitor centre, light industries building and men’s shed will be constructed at Barwon. The existing programs and medical building will also be expanded and refurbished, and internal fencing will be built.
The expansion is part of the government’s $1.8 billion investment in the Victorian Budget 2019/20 to provide flexible prison capacity, deliver programs to break the cycle of reoffending and keep people out of prison.
Barwon Prison is part of a $798 million program to expand the capacity of five Victorian prisons, generating local jobs and economic activity across four regions:
- Lara (Barwon Prison and Marngoneet Correctional Centre)
- Castlemaine (Middleton Prison)
- Ararat (Hopkins Correctional Centre)
- Ravenhall (Metropolitan Remand Centre).
A further 20 jobs are being created in the Melbourne suburb of Campbellfield, with work starting in recent weeks on plumbing, electrical, furniture and fixtures for 460 prefabricated cells for the five Victorian prison sites.
Construction across the five sites is expected to be completed in 2023.
Source: A state government media release