Ravenhall Prison takes shape

Posted: 14th Jan

Motorists heading out on the Western Freeway between Sunshine and Melton couldn’t fail to notice the major construction project underway on the western edge of the freeway. Foundations are being laid and buildings taking shape. Welcome to Ravenhall Prison, Victoria’s newest and largest prison – and a correctional facility that re-writes the rules.

700 construction jobs

600 operational jobs

89% of materials and services sourced from Australia and New Zealand

As you read the Summer 2016 edition of Link, Victoria’s population should just be ticking past 6 million. Currently Australia’s fastest growing State (at a healthy 1.7% per annum) by 2025 there is expected to be over 7 million Victorians.

Such growth will require similar expansion in all essential elements of social infrastructure including housing, schools, hospitals and roads, which we are already seeing in the booming western suburbs of Melbourne.

Less expected perhaps – but no less important – will be the new prisons and correctional facilities necessary to safely and securely hold and rehabilitate offenders amongst Victoria’s growing population.

Even accounting for Victoria’s success in minimising the number of its citizens it sends to prison (Victoria’s imprisonment rate of 134 per 100,000 of the adult population is already one of Australia’s lowest) it is clear the State’s prisons will in all likelihood need to grow in the future, whilst continually striving to break the cycle of reoffending.

Front and centre in this evolution is Ravenhall Prison.

Built and operated by the GEO Consortium – GEO Group Australia (‘GEO’), John Holland, Honeywell and Capella Capital – Ravenhall will house 1,000 prisoners when it opens in late

2017, with the capacity for a further 300 places if needed in the future.

GEO Operational Readiness Coordinator Alan Scaife commented “Already a leader in correctional practice, Ravenhall will cement Victoria’s reputation as a State that is serious in seeking to reduce the risk of reoffending by prisoners as they return to the community.

With very few exceptions, all Victorian prisoners will be released at the end of their sentences and return to the community. The time in prison is an opportunity to understand and address the reasons for their offending and to work with them to reduce the likelihood of their return”.

Ravenhall’s 75-bed forensic mental health unit responds to the growing realisation that poor mental health lies behind a great deal of offending. Similarly its 25-bed close supervision unit provides Victoria’s first purpose-built facility to manage and help a small group of prisoners whose behaviours are particularly challenging.

With specialist programs for the growing number of younger prisoners, and new services to decisively address the over-representation of Indigenous Australians amongst the prison population, Ravenhall tackles head-on the reasons why some people in these groups fall foul of the Victorian justice system.

But most significantly Ravenhall is a prison that does not limit its ambitions to the confines of its walls. GEO Director, Offender Development Services Dr Sarah Gray said “Through the GEO Group Australia’s Continuum of Care Ravenhall will support prisoners (and their families) after they are released, and even after their sentences have fully expired.

Through its own community reintegration centre Ravenhall will continue to guide, assist and support its ex-prisoners in an all-out effort to help them reintegrate and turn their backs on crime”.

Ravenhall provides Victoria with a world-class correctional facility – one which places community safety firmly at its heart.

There will be significant ongoing career opportunities at Ravenhall Prison across multiple disciplines, including but not limited to Operations, Offender Programs and Services, Vocational and Trade Services, Finance and Administration and Human Resources. To be one step closer to securing a career at GEO’s Ravenhall Prison complete an expression of interest in employment via http://geogroup.applynow.net.au/

Keep up to date with the project at http://www.geogroup.com.au/ravenhall-prison.html