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2022-2023 Appropriations Debate

It has taken them more time than was really necessary, but the government has finally started to significantly invest in staff wellbeing at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC). $12 million has been budgeted to support staff wellbeing at the AMC. This was sorely needed.

A glaring hole in the budget, however, is the missing $35 million for the previously promised reintegration centre. This large investment into the rehabilitation of detainees was committed to in the 2019-2020 budget. Soon afterwards, it was quietly put on hold and this funding which had the potential to change the life trajectories of many people in the prison has never amounted to anything.

Education has also been a major concern at the AMC. For over a year, there has been no formal or ongoing education provided at the AMC for the general population.

Without education and a reintegration centre to help improve job skills for detainees, their chances of entering back into society and finding meaningful employment goes down dramatically. If they cannot find meaningful employment, their likelihood to reoffend goes up.

These failures are difficult to identify when the government also declines to properly resource oversight bodies responsible for overseeing the prison. For three years now, the Inspector of Corrections has been in dire need of just one more full-time team member. For three years, the government has rebuffed the request. This is an arrogant and irresponsible move.

In closing, I thank all the hardworking ACTCS staff. Their efforts are often unappreciated, overlooked and misunderstood. I want them to know that I appreciate them and that their welfare is high on my list of priorities. It takes people of great integrity, empathy and thick skin to enter a career in this field and they all deserve fitting reward and recognition for their efforts.

Click on the arrow button to read my speech.


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