Minister for Corrections David Elliott and Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin today officially re-opened Kirkconnell Correctional Centre near Bathurst to help cater for the increasing prison population.
Mr Elliott presented a set of ceremonial keys to prison general manager Bill Fittler and said the facility would create more than 60 jobs and boost the local economy.
The prison will hold 260 minimum-security inmates, mostly young men on shorter sentences. A crew of 60 prisoners has been working with contractors at the site since February and more inmates have gradually arrived this month.
There has been a complete upgrade of the offender reception and intake area as well as extensive improvements to prison security and communications.
Mr Elliott said the Government is introducing an extra 1,100 prisoner beds across the state this year to cater for the increased inmate population.
“It’s no secret that the prison population is increasing and the community is becoming safer,” Mr Elliott said.
“We’re taking steps to house these inmates, including re-opening Kirkconnell Correctional Centre and longer term initiatives such as building a new prison in Grafton and expanding Parklea Correctional Centre.”
Mr Severin said programs addressing offending behaviour would be an important part of the prison’s operation.
“Offenders will also participate in work programs so they can develop vocational and life skills and give something back to the community,” Mr Severin said.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said it was a good outcome for the region.
“When prison numbers started to increase and more beds were needed, I made it a priority to push for Kirkconnell to be brought back online,” Mr Toole said.
The prison closed in 2011 after a decrease in prisoner numbers and Bathurst Correctional Centre inmates and staff have maintained the site since that time.