Private prisons accommodate around one third of the state’s male prison population. The safe, secure and cost effective operation of these prisons is essential for the effective functioning of Victoria’s corrections system and for community safety. Like the broader prison system, private prisons face significant challenges. The male prison population has increased by approximately 50 per cent over the last seven years, primarily driven by an increase in remand prisoners.
This audit examines whether two of Victoria’s private prisons—Port Phillip Prison and Fulham Correctional Centre—are safe and cost effective. We looked at:
- private prisons’ management of critical safety and security risks
- private prisons’ performance against key service delivery measures, costs and risk transfer expectations under the original contracts
- the process for the recent contract extensions and whether they delivered value for money.
This is the first audit in which we used our ‘follow-the-dollar’ powers, directly engaging the private prison operators and requesting information from them.
We made six recommendations for DJR, and two for the Department of Treasury and Finance related to its role in the private prison contract extension process.