Prisons in Victoria

In the metropolitan area the prison system currently consists of the Port Phillip Prison, Melbourne Assessment Prison (MAP), Metropolitan Remand Centre (MRC), Dame Phyllis Frost Centre (formerly the Metropolitan Women’s Correctional Centre) and the Judy Lazarus Transition Centre. There are nine country prisons.

Prisoners with psychiatric problems can be accommodated at the MAP in the Acute Assessment Unit, Paul’s Unit at the Port Phillip Prison, or the Thomas Embling Hospital at Fairfield. Prisoners with medical issues can be accommodated at St Augustine’s Ward at St Vincent’s Hospital.

The MAP is the primary reception prison for male prisoners. It accommodates:

unconvicted prisoners awaiting transfer to Port Phillip and/or the MRC;

those assessed as unsuitable for Port Phillip;

sentenced prisoners awaiting classification and transfer to other prisons; and

prisoners returned to MAP for medical reasons or to attend court.

The MAP provides access to a number of programs. All Victorian prisons now have teleconferencing or TeleCourt facilities that enable prisoners to remain in custody for court appearances. Remands, committal mentions, uncontested bail applications, adjournment applications, where prisoners are witnesses, and minor plea hearings can be conducted through the TeleCourt facilities.

Matters that can be heard by TeleCourt are detailed in the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958 (Vic) (s 42K(1), (2)). Prisoners wishing to access TeleCourt should advise their legal representatives and the teleconference facility at the particular prison.

The Dame Phyllis Frost Centre caters for sentenced female prisoners and those on remand. It also provides access to a wide range of programs, including education and therapeutic programs, and assistance in preparing for court. TeleCourt facilities are also available.

MAP, MRC, Port Phillip and Barwon Prisons are male maximum-security prisons, and also have male remand and sentenced prisoners.

Country prisons vary greatly in layout and operation, from “open” prisons, such as Tarrengower for women, Dhurringile, Beechworth and Langi Kal Kal for men, to the more secure walled-type prisons such as Barwon, Fulham, Loddon, Hopkins Corrections Centre and the Marngoneet Correctional Centre, which deals with male offenders with offences related to violence and sexual offences, and offenders with chronic drug and alcohol problems. There is a range of accommodation and facilities, as well as varying security arrangements and programs.