Units to ease outside transition

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 23 April 2013 | 19.55

The new O'Hara Cottages at Risdon Prison aim to ease prisoner's transition back into life on the outside. Pictures: RICHARD JUPE

NEW open security units the Risdon Prison Complex are designed to help inmates transition to life on the outside.

Corrections Minister Nick McKim, at the official opening of the O'Hara Cottages this morning, said the new independent living precinct was located in the Ron Barwick Minimum Security Prison.

The units, named after a former Port Arthur corrections officer with a reputation for rehabilitating inmates, are home to two inmates but have room for another 10.

Mr McKim said prisoners would remain in a supervised environment and the O'Hara Cottages would provide an incentive for good behaviour within the prison system.

"The cottages have been set up to reflect, as closely as possible, a traditional living environment. The absence of bars and high-security fences, along with a greater emphasis on empowering prisoners to make decisions, will help reduce the risk of re-offending post-release," Mr McKim said.

"In the future, it is envisaged that an additional multi-purpose area for education programs and visits will be developed using existing infrastructure.

"This will not only provide for the needs of the prisoners housed in the cottages, but will also offer greater opportunity for prisoners in Ron Barwick Minimum Security Prison and their families."

The refurbishment of the cottages was undertaken by prisoners at Ron Barwick working alongside external contractors and Tasmania Prison Service staff.

The cottages have individual rooms equipped with a bed, writing desk and chair, storage for clothing and a small, wall-mounted television. Prisoners will be expected to share bathroom facilities and common areas, such as the lounge, kitchen and laundry.


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