An ongoing problem at the Alexander Maconochie Centre is that inmates can receive double the income from external sources than they can earn from working in the prison, Shadow Minister for Corrections Giulia Jones said today.
Questioning from the Canberra Liberals revealed inmates can receive $150 per week from anyone outside the prison, while they are only able to earn $70 per week from work done through prison work programs.
“Minister Rattenbury often stresses the importance of employment within the prison as a rehabilitation tool,” Mrs Jones said.
“However, this lack of incentive to work needs to be addressed.
“Detainees can receive $7,800 per year from outside sources or they can earn $3,674 per year in exchange for work.
“Providing better structured days for detainees and improving their chances of gaining and retaining employment upon release is important for the rehabilitation process and was one of the key concerns raised by the Auditor-General in 2015.
“In contrast, the Minister is currently overseeing a system that has all the wrong incentives and inhibits rehabilitation.
“The rehabilitation process is fundamentally flawed when prisoners can get double the money from outside sources than they can earn through employment programs, and when people who may be associated with criminal activity are able to remain in contact with prisoners by sending them money.
“The Minister should value the rehabilitation program and incentivise work over complacency and, in some instances, ties to an unhealthy past,” Mrs Jones concluded.