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​For the Record: 'Rising prisoner numbers threaten to overwhelm despite jail reopening'

'Rising prisoner numbers threaten to overwhelm despite jail reopening'
Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 2015

Minister David Elliott provided the statement below to journalist Rachel Olding. The figures in that statement, which were not included in the article, bear on the headline and several claims in the article, including that "the government’s announcement in February to re-open Kirkconnell Correctional Centre in June will not be enough to house the rapidly rising number of inmates."

Statement by Minister David Elliott

"The government is committed to doing whatever is necessary to keep the community safe. The prisoner population will only decrease when there are fewer offenders being charged and being sent to jail.

"I am deeply concerned at the high rate of repeat offenders and one of my first priorities will be to develop policies so that people who finish their sentences are not returned into custody. To do that I want prisoners to leave jail punished, literate and drug free.

"Corrective Services NSW responds flexibly to fluctuations in the prison population. The Government approved an extra 691 beds in 2014 and 950 for 2015. These are being provided by a variety of means in existing correctional centres, and by the re-opening of Kirkconnell Correctional Centre. An additional 160 beds are being created through the construction of modular cells, to be located within existing correctional centres."