Prisoners in Victoria, Australia, will continue to be secured by G4S after a new 20-year contract valued at over £1 billion was awarded to run Port Phillip Prison – the largest in the State.
G4S has operated the Melbourne facility since it first opened its doors in 1997, and that long relationship with customer Corrections Victoria (CV) is set to run for another two decades, commencing September 2017.
With a capacity of 1,107 predominantly maximum-security prisoners, Port Phillip is the largest of Victoria’s 14 prisons, and one of only two in the State to be run privately.
As well as continuing with its aim to reduce reoffending, which in Victoria is now at 36.8% – below the Australian national average of 40% – the new contract requires the upgrade and refurbishment of the prison and investment in innovative technology to support prisoner rehabilitation.
Port Phillip General Manager Ian Thomas believes that the 600-strong team’s success in running a highly complex facility, and the wealth of experience built up over nearly 20 years, are key factors behind the contract extension.
“Over the past 18 years of running this prison we have built up significant experience, and are able to demonstrate to our customer, Corrections Victoria, our ability to provide a high-quality service while operating a complex facility effectively whilst providing value for money to the State,” he said.
“Each year, the State measures our performance against 21 different service delivery outcomes, and during my three and a half years in this role we have always scored very highly.”
Of the team’s relationship with the customer, Ian said: “It is very good. We have an open, honest and transparent relationship with Corrections Victoria.
“They know they are able to come to us with any issues or concerns and we will resolve them. We try to be on the front foot, and present any problems that arise to CV along with our plans to fix them.
“In addition, they sometimes come to us for assistance with specific issues. For example, when there was an incident last year at a local remand centre, over the next 48 hours we took in 150 additional prisoners while still maintaining good order at Port Phillip.”
He added: “CV seems to go for longer-term contracts – as the facilities are so large and complex, it makes sense to have that continuity.
“We’re delighted to have that security, but it is a benefit for the State as well. They know they have G4S, with a proven track record of performance and delivery, signed up for the next two decades.
“It’s now up to us to make sure we meet our contractual obligations.”
Port Phillip houses a number of specialist units, including a Youth Unit for 18 to 25-year-olds and an Intellectual Disability Unit, both of which are unique in the State.
In addition, there is a psycho-social unit, in and out-patient medical facilities and a protection unit, while the prison also maintains a 10-bed secure ward at nearby St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne.
Dennis Roach, Managing Director for G4S Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea
spoke of his “delight” at the new contract, adding: “The agreement reflects a level of confidence in the G4S service delivery model which we believe provides value for money services to the Victorian State Government.
“It also reflects our G4S prison operating philosophy of providing a secure, safe and humane environment for prisoners.
“Our focus on rehabilitation and community reintegration programs work towards reducing the rate of prisoners reoffending and support a safer Victorian community.”
Did you know?
G4S also operates a second prison in Australia, Mount Gambier. It is the only privately run
prison in South Australia, accommodating 489 medium security adult male prisoners.