We are outraged by the South Australian Government’s announcement of a $227 million investment in the state’s prison system, which Treasurer Stephen Mullighan has described as the ‘largest’ in the state’s history. This budget allocation, set to be handed down on Thursday, includes the addition of 350 beds across two Adelaide prisons, and specifically, the addition of 40 new beds in Adelaide Women’s Prison.

‘We vehemently oppose this announcement,’ said Linda Fisk of Seeds of Affinity. ‘The expansion of prison beds, particularly the addition of more beds for women, is a regressive step. Women in this state do not need more cages; they need more support in the community,’ said Linda Fisk.

‘This latest announcement by the Government does nothing to address the issues faced by criminalised women in South Australia,’ said Linda Fisk. ‘The focus should be on providing safe, stable housing and comprehensive support services, investing in community health, mental health services, and domestic violence support to create stronger communities,’ said Linda Fisk.

‘We call for an urgent moratorium on the addition of new beds at Adelaide Women’s Prison. We do not want to see any new beds built on that site,’ said Tabitha Lean of the National Network. ‘Moreover, we urge the South Australian Government to divest from women’s prisons and redirect these funds towards community-based supports and services,’ said Tabitha Lean.

‘Mr Mullighan is quoted as saying that the Malinauskas government remains committed to building the capacity of the prison system to keep ‘South Australians safe.’ The National Network argue that prisons are violent places.
Therefore, it is an abrogation of the state’s duty of care to keep all of its citizens safe, when prisons harm the ones they cage,’ said Tabitha Lean.

‘We are mothers, sisters, daughters, and grandmothers. We are the backbone of our communities. By caging us, the government is deliberately destroying the fabric of our communities,’ said Debbie Kilroy. ‘This ‘investment’ in more prison beds perpetuates a cycle of harm and does nothing to build a safer, healthier, and more just community,’ said Debbie Kilroy.

‘It is time for the South Australian Government to rethink its priorities and invest in solutions that support and uplift women, rather than confine, exile and punish them. Our communities deserve better,’ said Debbie Kilroy.