Supermax II to house Islamic radicals
FEDERAL Government heavyweights have praised a decision by NSW to build a "mini-max” prison within Goulburn's SuperMax prison to keep hard-core extremists from radicalising other inmates.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a $47million package yesterday to build the facility.
"We don't want to see people already behind bars subject to radicalisation,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters.
"If you are going to engage in activity which is going to try and convince others and manipulate others to do so, you will be sorted out.”
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton applauded the plan and encouraged other states to come up with similar initiatives.
"We don't want people within the prison environment indoctrinated, being converted into a radical form of Islam,” Mr Dutton said.
"We don't want these people coming out a bigger threat than when they went into jail.”
Federal Attorney-General George Brandis also praised the idea but said the new prison must run alongside "effective deradicalisation programs”.
"It seems to me to be a good thing, so long as the way in which these prisons are designed and configured doesn't mean all the terrorists are together in each other's company reinforcing each other's ideology,” he told Sky News.
The 54-prisoner unit, to be known as Supermax II, is part of an overhaul that will include soundproofing, and audio and CCTV upgrades to monitor visits from family and friends.
The 16-year-old Supermax High Risk Management Correctional Centre will nearly double in capacity, from 45 inmates to 75.
While the three-year overhaul is being driven by a rising number of terror-related crimes, the new jail can also accommodate other high-risk offenders.
The measures include a new deradicalisation program and a dedicated six-man counter-terrorism intelligence unit based at Silverwater jail to co-operate with police.
One of the motivating factors behind the shake-up is the "prison jigsaw”, where correction officials are faced with the problem of keeping prisoners at high risk of being radicalised separated from the influence of violent extremist inmates.
Corrections Minister David Elliott, also Minister for Counter-terrorism, described the move as one of the most significant security upgrades of the Goulburn facility since it opened in 2001.
"There has been a steady increase in the number of violent extremists entering prison,” Mr Elliott said.
"This investment will future-proof the prison system and ensure that we remain one step ahead of inmates who present a national security risk.”
NSW Corrections Commissioner Peter Severin said the upgrade would allow prison officers to better manage convicted terrorists and those on terror charges.
- with Linda Silmalis
The Daily Telegraph