The first women’s prison in Australia has opened, and it’s not for the faint-hearted.
The Bluefield Women’s Institution in Darwin will be the first women-only facility in the country.
The building will be one of the first to open for business in Australia.
“This facility is the first facility that’s built specifically for women, and the facility will be able to house women for longer periods of time,” Bluefield District Health Officer and senior executive officer of Bluefield Correctional Services, Helen Brown said.
“We’ve also worked hard to make sure the staff, staff, and families at Bluefield are the best in the world.”
The facility will also have a helpline, a library, and a cafe.
Brown said the facility is an opportunity for people in the community to learn more about the prison, and to get involved in the program.
“The first week you’ll have the opportunity to call the helplines and the library, you’ll be able, hopefully, to learn about some of the different initiatives that are being put into place around the facility,” Brown said, adding that people will also be able use the facilities for community service, such as cleaning.
“They’re a great place to get into the community, and they’re a place where you can come and say hello to a community member,” Brown told the ABC.
The facility is currently home to about 15 people.
Brown is expecting to see a new facility soon, and said she was confident that a facility like this would be able support a larger community.
“We’ve already had the opportunity in our first two weeks to get the capacity up to about 200 women, so I think we’re really on the right track to get that up,” Brown explained.
She said Bluefield has a long history of having a range of facilities for women in the region.
“It’s not only a prison, it’s also a women’s refuge, it is also a transitional home, it has a school for young people, it also has a clinic, a hospital, it offers vocational and other programs,” Brown added.
“And in the next two years we hope to be able start expanding that and see a whole range of new facilities.”
Brown said Bluefields facility will help to expand the prison population in the area.
“You have to look at it as an opportunity to grow and to continue to grow the prison,” Brown noted.
“It’s really important to be building a prison that’s for people that are committed to prison and to make them as safe as possible.”
Bluefield has not released an official timetable for opening the facility.