New facilities honour Dr Vanessa Goodwin

TWO new minimum-security units and a new mother and baby unit at Mary Hutchinson’s Women Prison will be named the “Dr Vanessa Goodwin Cottages” in honour of the late Dr Vanessa Goodwin.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Corrections Elise Archer recently visited the Risdon Prison complex with several members of Vanessa Goodwin’s family to make the announcement.

“Vanessa was very passionate about rehabilitation and helping people to get their lives back on track and become productive members of society following their release from prison,” Ms Archer said.

“These new facilities will honour Vanessa’s significant legacy by enhancing the rehabilitation prospects for women who find themselves within Tasmania’s criminal justice system.”

Work has now commenced on the new facilities that will provide an additional 25 minimum security beds to accommodate female prisoners within the Tasmania Prison Service (TPS), bringing the total capacity for women at Risdon Prison to 71.

The mother and baby unit will provide a safe and specially designed environment for new mothers with their babies and pregnant women, allowing increased opportunities for parent/child attachment and nurturing while in prison.

Members of Dr Goodwin’s family were extremely proud and believed that Vanessa would be “truly humbled” that these units have been named in her honour.

“She was an incredible force in our family and this is something we can look back on in her memory. It’s very important to us,” Maggie Saunders, Dr Goodwin’s cousin, said.

Ms Saunders said the family had been inundated with well wishes from people touched by Dr Goodwin and her work.

“We’ve heard from rehabilitated prisoners, we’ve heard random people on the streets and I don’t think there is a single person in Tasmania who didn’t like Vanessa and didn’t appreciate what she did for the entire state,” she said.

The Tasmanian Government has committed $2.6 million in capital funding for the new facilities, which are expected to be completed towards the end of the year.

“I look forward to the official opening of the Dr Vanessa Goodwin Cottages that will honour our shared vision for helping people get their lives back on track,” Ms Archer said.

Caption: Attorney-General and Minister for Corrections and Justice Elise Archer, pictured centre, with cousins of the late Dr Vanessa Goodwin, from left, Libby Saunders, Maggie Saunders, Claire Goodfellow and Rebecca Terry.