Victorians head to an election this year with both the Andrews government and the Coalition opposition parties promising to increase the already extraordinary growth in the number of prisoners in that state. Last week Corrections Minister Gayle Tierney told The Age, which reported that Victoria now has 7000 prisoners (a rise of 70% in ten years) costing $800 million a year, “It’s unfortunate that we need to build new prisons but it just is a matter of fact unfortunately ... and we need to ensure that we’ve got a secure prison system so that we can keep our community safe."

But while Tierney and her opposition counterparts, such as Liberal Corrections Spokesman Ed O’Donohue, believe that more prisoners equals greater safety, the Productivity Commission’s latest data shows the contrary to be the case.