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Australia Northern Territory prisons at record levels of overcrowding

11:45  13 february  2018
11:45  13 february  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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The Alice Springs prison is more than 20 per cent over its design capacity and the Barkly work camp is at similar levels , February data shows.

Prison overcrowding is a social phenomenon occurring when the demand for space in prisons in a jurisdiction exceeds the capacity for prisoners in the place. Prison overcrowding can occur when the rate at which people are incarcerated exceeds the rate at which other prisoners are released or die

The Darwin Correctional Centre is 2.8 per cent over design capacity, according to the figures.© Provided by ABC News The Darwin Correctional Centre is 2.8 per cent over design capacity, according to the figures. Northern Territory prisons are again at record levels of overcrowding, according to new figures published by the NT Correctional Services department.

The Alice Springs prison is more than 20 per cent over its design capacity and the Barkly work camp is at similar levels, February data shows.

Darwin's prison at Holtze, which was almost full when it was opened in 2014, is now almost three per cent over capacity.

"NT Correctional Services is implementing a range of measures to manage growing prisoner numbers in the Territory's correctional centres and work camps, with prisoner numbers reaching an all-time high this week," the department said in a statement.

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Overcrowding or crowding refers to the condition where more people are located within a given space than is considered tolerable from a safety and health perspective which will depend on current environment and local cultural norms.

Campaigners have warned the levels of overcrowding in prisons , along with severe staff months: that suicides in custody in England and Wales were than in any other on record in 2016 being made because of overcrowding , and not in the best interest of the prisoners and their rehabilitation.” at Stormont, she will visit the Irish border and discuss the potential impact of Brexit with Northern Irish

It said there would be more double-bunking in Darwin's prison, with 40 additional beds, along with extra staff and an assessment of open rated prisoners for home detention or work camps.

Overall, the Northern Territory has about 1,800 prisoners, which is almost nine per cent over capacity.

The only facility with room is the Datjala work camp in Nhulunbuy, which is almost 90 per cent full.

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Inmates have built barricades, wrecked cells and lit fires in disturbances at three overcrowded prisons in the past seven days, the Home Office confirmed last night. The disturbances at prisons in Doncaster

Prison overcrowding is one of the key contributing factors to poor prison conditions around the world. Data suggests that the number of prisoners exceeds official prison capacity in at least 115 countries.

The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency's chief executive Priscilla Atkins said the under-resourcing of NT prisons had meant a reduction in rehabilitation programs.

Ms Atkins said the problem was being made worse by mandatory sentencing and so-called "street time" not being taken into account when parole was breached.

"It shouldn't be up to corrections," she said.

"They're the ones that have to pick up the pieces at the end, it should be the front end that the government should be investing in."

The Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said a recent spike in remand numbers was to blame.

He said he had asked the Attorney-General Natasha Fyles to investigate what was behind the surge.

"To respond to that, health are putting some extra beds into the Holtze prison to manage it," he said.

A Katherine prison alternative was flagged by Labor after the Holtze prison was built.

Mr Gunner said the idea was "taken off the table" by the Country Liberal Party.

"The Attorney-General is looking at those plans and the timing of what we can do to bring that online," he said.

"What we've been working on through the Aboriginal Justice Unit has been negotiations around community placement or community detention."

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