Ararat prison slamed in Ombudsman report

ARARAT's Hopkins Correctional Centre has come under the microscope in an Ombudsman's report slamming Victoria's prison system.

In the chapter of the report by Ombudsman George Brouwer which focuses on overcrowding, a fold-up bed used in the prison is pictured.

It highlights a storage area where six fold-up beds are kept during the day.

At night, the beds are wheeled into a secure common area to create a dormitory for sleeping.

"It is of concern that prisoners are placed in overcrowded and at times substandard conditions with a risk of physical and sexual assault," Mr Brouwer said.

"The likelihood of prisoners being physically or sexually assaulted or self-harming leading to deaths is greater now than at any time in recent years."

Corrections Minister Edward O'Donohue blamed the previous Labor government for overcrowding in the prison system.

"While the State Government is now engaged in one of the largest prison expansion programs in Victoria's history, fluctuations in numbers have meant the occasional use of fold-out beds in some areas," he said.

"While this is not ideal, the Coalition makes no apologies for doing whatever needs to be done to make sure those who are sentenced to jail go to jail."

The report also launches a scathing attack on the management of mentally ill prisoners.

A mentally ill man identified in the report as 'Prisoner I' attempted suicide at Hopkins by cutting his wrists.

He was then transferred to Melbourne's Acute Assessment Unit where he was given access to a razor blade just 13 days later. He used it to self-harm.

The report blamed a lack of government spending in the prison system for the issues.

"The failure to provide sufficient funding for new and existing prison infrastructure has resulted in Victorian prisons being overcrowded," Mr Brouwer said

"The warning signs have been there for more than a decade."

Mr O'Donohue said no prisoner had committed suicide in the current financial year.

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