Double-bunking approved for Milton facility

The Department of Corrections has been given permission to introduce double-bunking at the Otago Corrections Facility, near Milton; with a series of new buildings, fences and other facilities set to be added.

Papers obtained from the Clutha District Council show the proposal - to boost capacity by 150 at the prison - was approved with little fuss because the request met requirements designated before the facility was built.

In his brief written decision, council planning and environment manager Murray Brass said he was satisfied the proposal would not have any significant effects beyond what was already within the scope of the designation.

The papers show the double-bunking project is more than just fitting extra beds to cells.

The work includes:

• Additions to the eastern and western ends of one building to create at-risk, management and separate cells.

• Exercise yards.

• A small extension to another building for operations management purposes.

• A new building for a search facility.

• A new Corrections Inmate Employment commercial workshop and training workshop.

• Additional car park lighting.

• A new fence around the western side of one building.

The consent does not include a recent application to build a new drug treatment centre on site.

The double-bunking project was initiated by the Government as a way of providing enough beds for the predicted rise in prisoner numbers in the next six months.

Capacity at the facility will rise from 335 to 485 by next February. An extra 67 staff are also expected to be needed.



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