Mount Gambier Prison

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Mount Gambier Prison
Location Moorak, South Australia
Security class Principally medium and low security male sentenced prisoners; can also accommodate short-term high security males and females.
Capacity 493
Opened 1995
Managed by G4S[1]

Mount Gambier Prison is an Australian prison located in Moorak immediately south of Mount Gambier.[2]

Mount Gambier Prison is the only privately managed prison in South Australia. It is currently managed and operated by G4S Custodial Services Pty Ltd (previously Group 4 Corrections Services).


The prison accommodates medium and low security male sentenced and remand prisoners. Short-term high security male and female prisoners can also be accommodated when required.[3]

Accommodation includes:

  • a traditional cell block arrangement
  • shared living cottages
  • semi-independent living cottages
  • an induction area that houses new prisoners
  • a small allocation of high security cells.

Prison life[edit]

Consistent with other prisons in South Australia, prisoners are placed on incentive based regimes that provide varying levels of privileges based on behaviour.

Prisoners are engaged in a range of work programs including grounds and building maintenance, cleaning, laundry and kitchen work. The prison also has a large timber furniture manufacturing workshop that produces bedroom and living room furniture for dispatch directly to retail outlets in South Australia.

Mount Gambier Prison provides a full range of prisoner services, including all medical, education, facilities management, equipment and grounds preventative maintenance services ‘in house’, using locally employed staff and sub-contractors.

Education and program activities focus on numeracy and literacy skills and cognitive skills programs are aimed at high risk offenders.[4]

Increase in capacity and security improvements[edit]

In March 2009, an expansion of the prison was announced.[5] With a project budget of $22.9m, it will be the first South Australian prison to employ the cheaper and faster modular construction method using shipping containers. The cell block is constructed as a single storey facility designed around two wings of 54 beds (total of 108 beds) with a central officers station to supervise both wings. Each wing has a central external exercise yard. A new kitchen will also be built and the prison perimeter will be extended.[6]

  • In 2007, to address pressure on the South Australian Custodial Correctional system, the prisons capacity increased from 110 to 139 beds.[7] In June 2012, the capacity of the prison was 172.[3]
  • In 2005, a new $950,000 state-of-the art Control Room was officially commissioned.[8]
  • During 2003-2004, work was conducted in the cells to eliminate hanging points and the fire safety systems in the cell block, the cottages and the operations building were upgraded.[9]
  • The 2017 state budget included provision to spen A$38.8 million on adding 160 beds to Mount Gambier Prison[10]


In March 2009, Chief executive of the Department of Correctional Services Peter Severin said that since the Mount Gambier Prison was opened in [1995], it has been a stable facility with "very few" incidents.[5]

  • In July 2004, the South Australian Coroner was critical of cell design, Group 4 and Department of Correctional Services staff following the death of a prisoner.[11]
  • In April 2001 a single prisoner became the first to escape the facility by climbing two razor-wire topped fences.[12] This is the only escape from within the confines of the prison as of June 2012.

Mount Gambier Prison in the community[edit]

A strong partnership exists between Lifeline South East and the prison. This relationship began in mid 1995 with Lifeline's involvement in suicide awareness training for new prison staff.

  • In 2010 the prisoner listener program, which aims to reduce suicides at the prison, gained a national award.[13]
  • In 1998 prisoners under the instructions of a local builder constructed an education centre within the prison. The work was also attached to a vocational course. This resulted in prisoners learning new skills and obtaining TAFE certificates to assist them upon their release.


  1. ^ "South Australia Prisoner Movement and In-Court Management". G4S. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b "The Department of Correctional Services, South Australian Government, Adelaide, South Australia - Mount Gambier Prison". Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  4. ^ "Care & justice services - MGP | G4S". Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  5. ^ a b Gerritsen, Tim (2009-03-03). "More prisoners for Mount Gambier as gaol is upsized - ABC South East SA - Australian Broadcasting Corporation". Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  6. ^ "The Department of Correctional Services, South Australian Government, Adelaide, South Australia - MGP Expansion". 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  7. ^ "Mt Gambier jail at near capacity - ABC South East SA - Australian Broadcasting Corporation". 2007-11-21. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  8. ^ "Department for Correctional Services : February 2005 : State of the Art Security Upgrade for Mount Gambier" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  9. ^ "DCS Annual Report 2004" (PDF). DEPARTMENT FOR CORRECTIONAL SERVICES. p. 20. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  10. ^ Dayman, Isabel (22 June 2017). "SA budget 2017: What you need to know". ABC News. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  11. ^ "FINDING OF INQUEST" (DOC). Retrieved 22 February 2015. An Inquest taken on behalf of our Sovereign Lady the Queen at Mount Gambier in the State of South Australia, on the 12th and 13th days of July 2004 and in Adelaide on the 6th day of August 2004, before Wayne Cromwell Chivell, a Coroner for the said State, concerning the death of Troy Phillip Turner
  12. ^ "Simpl012: SA: Armed robber escapes from Mt Gambier jail". 2001-04-26. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  13. ^ "Prison suicide program gets national award - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". 2010-09-13. Retrieved 2013-10-14.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°51′31″S 140°41′4″E / 37.85861°S 140.68444°E / -37.85861; 140.68444