We have combined maximum security with sensitive design for improved health and rehabilitation.


  • Sydney, Australia

Project Value

  • AU$130 million

Project Status

  • Completed 2008


Long Bay Prison and Forensic hospitals were delivered as a public private partnership. The aim was to create healing environments within the prison without compromising safety and security. WSP's services team used environmentally sustainable design to emphasise wellness and improve environment quality. 


The construction of two new hospitals at Australia’s Long Bay Correctional Complex marked a fresh approach to secure care, as well as a major investment in mental health facilities for the state of New South Wales.


The A$130 million project in the Sydney suburb of Malabar involved the design, construction, commissioning, maintenance and the provision of soft services for the two new hospitals. One is an 85-bed prison hospital and the other is a 135-bed forensic hospital, providing care and treatment to mentally ill patients incarcerated – for the safety of themselves and the community.


Creating a Healing Environment

The guiding ambition behind the design was to do away with the typical, oppressive prison atmosphere. The project team sought to create a benign, healing environment better suited to addressing patients’ mental health issues and fostering rehabilitation. For the design team, our challenge was to achieve this within the context of a high-security facility. A low-stress clinical environment had to be created without compromising the security measures essential to the patients and public safety.


A Holistic Approach to Building Services

WSP provided hydraulic, audiovisual and fire safety design services to the project, which was delivered through a public private partnership. We provided all engineering building services, including environmentally sustainable design. Our team took a holistic approach, with a strong emphasis on improved wellness and indoor environmental quality. The design includes:

  • Chilled beam technology
  • No recirculation of air
  • Rainwater collection
  • Solar water heating
  • Future capacity for cogeneration


Ensuring Maximum Security at the Forensic Hospital

The forensic hospital effectively combines a hospital environment with a maximum-security perimeter. Since the facility allows prisoners who develop mental health issues to receive treatment without leaving the Long Bay complex, the design team had leeway to create a building that feels residential but maintains appropriate levels of security. It contains 91 beds for acute and sub-acute patients, 24 beds for sub-acute females and a 20-bed long-stay unit, plus a recreation and rehabilitation centre.


Improving the Prison Hospital Facilities

The prison hospital replaces an existing facility and includes medical and surgical wards, a facility for aged care and rehabilitation and a mental health unit, plus a hospital entry building and visitor’s centre, gatehouse and maximum-security perimeter wall. Outside the wall are parking facilities and a road.