$100,000 Corrections rebrand to help dispel jailhouse blues

Ian Bushnell 3 July 2020 21
Alexander Maconochie Centre

The Alexander Maconochie Centre: time to bust the myths. Photo: File.

What do you do with a government agency that stays in the news for all the wrong reasons? Spend $100,000 on a rebranding exercise.

This one comes with its own captive audience but probably not the bunch you need to influence, and the code name might as well be ‘Mission: Impossible’.

The ACT Government has just awarded a contract to local communications outfit Couch Creative to overhaul the branding (an unfortunate term in this instance) of the ACT Corrections Service, which operates the Alexander Maconochie Centre (aka, the prison).

Couch Creative will have to live up to its name to overcome a history of scandals, management failures and security breaches, including last year’s contraband brouhaha that locked down the prison and this week’s allegation from Liberal MLA Giulia Jones of a dial-a-drug drone delivery service at the prison.

The prison operates to the requirements of the ACT Human Rights Act but that hasn’t stopped it being a scene of inmate violence, deaths in custody, sky-high Indigenous incarceration rates, cost blow-outs and the subject of poor report cards such as last year’s review by the ACT Inspector of Correctional Services.

In some respects, any corrections system and prison is a poisoned chalice but this one, according to the contract, is ”undergoing a transformation, in the engagement with its staff, in the recognition of its brand and the personification of what this brand represents”.

The re-brand will ”showcase to staff and stakeholders, a new and progressive ACTCS, highlighting the positive and life-affirming work carried by employees across the ACTCS, on the frontline, in their daily workplace and the community”.

Alexander Maconochie Centre

It is a changing of the guards at the ACT’s prison. Photo: File.

Part of the pitch will be to encourage the right people to want to work in the Corrections System as part of a new and ongoing recruitment drive.

”The intent for ongoing recruitment is to attract and retain ACTCS employees, [and] inspire the current workforce to embody the ACTCS brand values in action,” the contract says

When the campaign has done its job with its captive audience, the next phase will extend outside to ”promote and highlight the work being undertaken to … ‘Support a Safer Community’”.

This will involve rebuilding the ACTCS website and overhauling its content, including a video message from the Commissioner and an Our People section populated by staff members who represent the new-look agency and its values.

We will also discover what it will take to be a corrections staff member, outlining the new vision for ACTCS employees and dispelling myths about working at the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

The 12-month contract covers print, digital and broadcast media including staff interviews, case and testimonials.

It will be delivered in two phases, the first by 31 August 2020, and the second by 16 November 2020 when there will be a discreet (soft) launch.

The price tag does not include the media buy required to implement the community campaign, which will be managed separately through Justice and Community Safety Directorate (JACS) Media.

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21 Responses to $100,000 Corrections rebrand to help dispel jailhouse blues
Phil Hopkins Phil Hopkins 10:06 am 09 Jul 20

Call it The Prison...... get a reality tv show going called Inmate..... your kidding, it's a prison - what a waste of $$$$

Ian McTaggart Ian McTaggart 5:00 pm 06 Jul 20

A prison by any other name is still a .......... wait for it. A place to accomodate people who have been sentenced to time in gaol. Next we will see the AMC staff with sponsorship on their jackets and caps. Perhaps the AMC could sell off advertising space on the fences under the razor wire.

thebscaller thebscaller 2:59 pm 06 Jul 20

The Hume Hilton

Spiral Spiral 1:12 pm 06 Jul 20

Well apparently we can’t have the anti-social naughty people think they have been sent to a place of punishment. We have to keep with the illusion they are being given an all expense paid holiday as compensation for other people being mean to them.

Acton Acton 8:01 am 06 Jul 20

How about re-branding to The East Canberra Prisoner’s Collective.

John Moulis John Moulis 7:02 am 06 Jul 20

I think the main problem is that pretentious name The Alexander Maconochie Centre. The name was chosen to give the impression that it isn’t really a prison, that it is human rights compliant. But it is a prison.

I don’t know who Alexander Maconochie is or was, but the best thing to do would be to dump the silly name which has become an object of ridicule in the Canberra district. The Labor government is anti-royal so the Victorian nomenclature style of HM Prison Canberra probably wouldn’t be palatable, so I would suggest the NSW and Queensland style name Canberra Correctional Centre.

Whatever they do, the first step should be to dump the original name and start running the place like a prison, not a holiday camp or a social worker’s experiment.

Beth Mansfield Beth Mansfield 12:38 am 06 Jul 20


Spencer B Norris Spencer B Norris 11:35 pm 05 Jul 20

It's a prison....for people who break the law. Not a holiday resort. Worse the reputation the better I reckon!! Maybe then people won't want to go there????

Lisa Bishop Lisa Bishop 9:56 pm 05 Jul 20

Oh dear. How easy is it to waste other people’s money.

Charlie Karmenu Flask Charlie Karmenu Flask 9:48 pm 05 Jul 20

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck...it's a duck!!!

David Jackson David Jackson 8:03 pm 05 Jul 20

This is what happens when the loonies are running the asylum!

Seriously it’s a correctional centre or prison.

What a waste of taxpayers money.

Barr and his cronies have lost the plot.

Darcy Ryan Darcy Ryan 7:42 pm 05 Jul 20

Chairman Barr needs to go.

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 7:15 pm 05 Jul 20

I mean. Fixing the actual problems is not an option...

Michael Ahern Michael Ahern 6:43 pm 05 Jul 20

I look forward to the next rates rise....

    Piers Cambridge Piers Cambridge 6:50 pm 05 Jul 20

    Michael Ahern haha I escaped the lunacy!!

    Ray Ez Ray Ez 7:21 pm 05 Jul 20

    Michael Ahern don’t vote labour.

    Mark Huppert Mark Huppert 7:42 pm 05 Jul 20

    If elected, the Libs will still have to operate prisons, maintain roads, pay police, maintain hospitals etc etc. Plus they want to plant 1 million trees and build a new football stadium. Money don't grow on trees, my friends. If the Libs promise tax cuts, they will also be promising large budget deficits.

    Sharee Schultz Sharee Schultz 7:35 am 06 Jul 20

    Mark Huppert I prefer more trees & a stadium than spending that type of money on a gaol!! 🙄

    Mark Huppert Mark Huppert 7:37 am 06 Jul 20

    Sharee Schultz Let the crims out then, I guess.

    Sharee Schultz Sharee Schultz 7:40 am 06 Jul 20

    Mark Huppert no, just don’t give them so much luxury for doing crimes! 🙄

Acton Acton 2:26 pm 05 Jul 20

$100,000 on a rebranding exercise, paid to some contractor, once again demonstrates the waste and extravgence of the ACT government. $100,000 is equivalent to the yearly rates of at least 33 properties. Do you want your rates spent on a rebranding exercise?

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