Alcatraz in reverse

Build remand centre in Perth 9 June 2006

Last week’s State Labor Government decision to build a $12 million juvenile remand centre in Geraldton to house a maximum of a dozen alleged offenders at any one time has given this state the perfect opportunity to do a reverse Alcatraz.

The infamous Alcatraz prison sits on an island off San Francisco. With a bit of luck, its inmates may have been able to see across the ocean to the mainland.


We could do the same thing here, except put the prison on the mainland and give the prisoners a view of the ocean and Rottnest.

Mack Hall and Associates are selling an apartment in Wellington Street, Mosman Park for $419,000. From the website it appears to be one of 27 units, most with ocean views, spread over nine floors.

Let’s hypothesise for a moment and say that all the units are for sale, that is, you can buy the complex – 27 two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments with an average price of $419,000, allowing less for the ground floor and more for the penthouse.

Justice Minister Margaret Quirk could buy this little lot for $11.3m instead of the $12m for a new one in Geraldton.

This would leave $700,000 to put up a decent fence and to adapt the ground floor flats for security so they could see everything that was going on in the lobby and in the grounds.

This would make the local residents a bit more comfortable and the inmates awaiting trial are protected from the residents because all apartments come with ‘State of the Art security’.

Hopefully, the thieves in the centre won’t still have the car they have allegedly stolen, so offenders won’t need the 27 individual carports. Visitor parking is assured.

If the offenders don’t mind sharing an apartment with another villain and, if you disperse them among the 24 units on floors one to nine, you can house 48 of them in the new remand centre.

So we’ve got nearly 50 kids with their own ocean view apartments in a slightly downmarket section of Mosman Park compared with 12 living in similar circumstances in Geraldton.

Seems value to me.

Of course, Margaret could spend less than $2m in Geraldton for the same result and put the $10m towards some other project.

FOOTNOTE: On 18 September 2006, after “a month long comment period” Minister Quirk scrapped the idea.

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