The Victorian Government has commissioned an independent review into the culture of Victoria’s prison system to help drive a safer, more inclusive environment for all staff.
The review will also ensure Victoria’s custodial corrections system continues promoting rehabilitation, reducing recidivism, and catering to the needs of all prisoners to ensure the system improves community safety.
A panel of three independent expert advisers has been appointed to the review – former Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright, CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Jill Gallagher AO, and former Fair Work Commission Deputy President Greg Smith AM.
The expert advisers have extensive experience working with vulnerable Victorians, an understanding of the justice system, and experience in workplace culture and safety reform.
The review will look at workplace culture among and towards staff in public and private prisons. It will identify opportunities for improvement and assess how effective departmental processes are in preventing and responding to behavioural and cultural challenges. Both staff and prisoners will be able to contribute to the review.
With Aboriginal Victorians significantly overrepresented in prison, it will also provide advice on how we can better support Aboriginal people in custody in ways that are culturally appropriate and free from discrimination.
Importantly, the review will build on initiatives already underway across the Department of Justice and Community Safety, including Corrections Victoria.
This includes increased integrity training for staff, ongoing efforts to strengthen operational and cultural leadership, and our continued work under the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement.
The review will commence shortly and will report to the Minister for Corrections. The panel will establish the processes and timing for interested parties to participate.
Further details of the review are available at corrections.vic.gov.au/cultural-review.
As stated by Minister for Corrections Natalie Hutchins
“Our prison staff play a frontline role in keeping our community safe – this review will help them to make a positive difference to the lives of prisoners and to the safety of Victorians.”
“Tim Cartwright, Jill Gallagher and Greg Smith are highly respected in their fields and we welcome their support in ensuring the safety of Victorians and the strength of our corrections workforce.”