26 September 2023

Ageing prisons to get out of jail

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Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) is to close four of the State’s smallest correctional centres as new fit-for-purpose prison beds with a focus on rehabilitation become available over the next few years.

Minister for Counter Terrorism and Corrections, Anthony Roberts said the Government would retire operations at Berrima Correctional Centre and the Illawarra Reintegration Centre in early 2020 and Ivanhoe and Brewarrina correctional centres in the middle of the year.

“The new 1,700-bed Clarence Correctional Centre and our expansion of existing prisons in Junee, Bathurst, Cessnock, Mid North Coast, Parklea and Windsor means we will have almost 5,000 beds available in modern, built-for-purpose prisons with greater rehabilitation opportunities,” Mr Roberts said.

“They will also create an additional 700 jobs in different locations across the NSW corrections system.”

He said that as the new infrastructure became available, Corrective Services NSW had a responsibility to ensure staff were not working in overcrowded prisons and had the opportunity to work in the safer, more secure facilities.

“We will support staff through this process and hope to retain as many of our experienced officers as possible,” he said.

Mr Roberts said that about 1,800 double-up and triple-up beds were scheduled to be removed across the State, starting at centres on the South Coast, Mid North Coast, Glen Innes and Shortland, to increase the availability of safer, single-occupant cells.

He said that as part of the operations improvement plan, Emu Plains and Kariong correctional centres would be repurposed into a dedicated mothers’ facility and transit centre, respectively.

CSNSW Commissioner Peter Severin said making the changes as safe new infrastructure became operational gave CSNSW the best opportunity to place affected staff in other roles.

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