ACT human rights commissioner Helen Watchirs wants to audit Canberra's jail but says she does not have the resources.

The Alexander Maconochie Centre opened in 2008 and was dubbed Australia's first human rights prison.

But Dr Watchirs has told a Legislative Assembly hearing, the prison has never been subject to a full human rights audit.

She is currently doing a report on the condition of female detainees.

"There's not sufficient resources to do a review of the male prison and the overcrowding, just the female area which is between 12 and 15 detainees," she said.

The jail has been plagued by overcrowding and there have been a number of cases where remandees have been assaulted by sentenced prisoners.

Dr Watchirs says her office does have an oversight role at the prison, but she would like to carry out a full audit.

"We go regularly to meetings and have enquires from not only detainees but service providers," she said.

"We will go to the prison and talk to people, if there are very specific issues we'll refer it to the ombudsman."

Dr Watchirs estimates an audit would cost up to $300,000.

"It would take at least one or two years with two staff," she said.

Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury says it would be ideal if the commission could be better resourced.

"Clearly it would be ideal if we could resource the Human Right Commission even better right across the community, not just when it comes to the Alexander Maconochie Centre but also in terms of community education, about human rights," he said.

"There's clearly more scope for the human rights commission to do more work."


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