The recent expansion of the Port Augusta Prison makes it the largest correctional facility in the state.
The $57.2 million redevelopment was opened this week by Correctional Services Minister Chris Picton.
Three new facilities, including the Salbush Unit with 128 extra beds, represent the end of Port Augusta Prison’s reputation for being overcrowded.
Also included in the expansion is a new reception building and industries complex which Mr Picton said will give prisoners the skills and training they will require upon release.
Looking for prisoners to engage fully in their rehabilitation efforts, the Department of Corrections have expanded classroom and programming in the prison to roll out more vocational training and job ready skills for prisoners.
Items currently being manufactured in Port Augusta Prison include pizza ovens, barbecues and smokers, outdoor furniture, flat pack sheds, cubby houses, studio retreats and playground equipment.
“We have got a goal in terms of our correction system to reduce re-offending by 10 per cent by 2020 and we know that sadly too many people who leave prison go on to re-offend,” Mr Picton said.
“We want to make sure that when prisoners leave prison when their sentence is completed that they have opportunities in terms of employment, training and housing to that they can make better choices in the future.
“We have also got a great partnership in terms of TAFE which is going to be very important in this new area as well.”
74,000 hours of work have been put into the construction phase of the redevelopment with companies and contractors sourced locally.
Port Augusta will continue to the reap the economic benefits as the expansion will require an additional number of people to be employed within the Department of Corrections.
“This week there is 19 correctional staff who are graduating from a special course just for Port Augusta Prison so we are going to see more people employed here at the prison,” Mr Picton said.
“It is more opportunity for people in the Port Augusta area to get good, solid well paid employment.”
Chief Executive at Department of Correctional Services David Brown emphasised the importance of the site.
“It really does make Port Augusta the pivotal regional prison in the state, accommodating all categories of prisoners – from those coming into us from the court to those preparing for release and return to their families,” Mr Brown said.
“It is a multipurpose site which offers a range of services that we need in a modern correctional service.”