For the past five years, the "hang 'em high" brigade has been baying for tougher criminal sentences, and the government has responded. This has caused pressure on our prisons, with the Department of Corrections being forced to hold prisoners in police cells for long periods in conditions that would result in prosecution if they were applied to animals, simply because they have nowhere else to put them. But now, prison overcrowding has reached its nadir, with prisoners being held in vans parked on the street in order to escape prison muster limits. The prisoners are then taken back inside once the head-count is done (thus keeping the prison technically within its capacity), or forced to wait for extended periods until a cell becomes available.
This isn't just inhumane - it is also unsafe. Prison vans are not meant for this sort of accomodation, and the conditions are even worse than those in police cells. There is also an increased danger of escape, and in the overcrowded prisons, of assaults on prison guards. But Corrections' management gets to pretend their prisons aren't overcrowded, which is clearly all that matters.