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Modern, versatile cells to house prisoners safely, securely

Issued: Thursday 5 February 2015

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A $10 million prison building project will deliver high-grade, modern cells quickly on the ground, accommodating more prisoners safely and securely.

Attorney General and Minister for Justice Brad Hazzard and Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin today unveiled a new modular cell prototype which has passed stringent security testing.

"These modern medium-security cells meet current building best practice and are cheaper and faster to build," Mr Hazzard said.

"This investment in community safety shows that we are ready to adapt flexibly to shifting prisoner numbers using a range of innovative planning measures."

About the cells

  • Purpose-designed and built by Corrective Services Industries
  • Built by prisoners at a cost $75,000 per cell versus $200,000 per cell using traditional building methods
  • Built with sturdy steel cage frames, steel doors & steel bars on the windows
  • Cells will be connected on site to create new prison pods

The $10 million will fund 80 cells – which will be able to house 160 inmates in two-out cells.

"We are now assessing the most suitable locations and expect the first cells will become operational by the end of August and stay in use as long as required," Mr Hazzard said.

The project will work in conjunction with other short, medium and long-term measures to house the NSW prison population into the future.

Mr Severin said the cells would be built at Muswellbrook's St Heliers Correctional Centre and planning was under way for other prison sites to assist production.

"Our correctional officers test all our new inmate accommodation with a variety of tools and one goal – to try getting out," Mr Severin said.

"They tested the modular prototype in December and couldn't get close to getting out – they couldn't inflict much damage at all, meaning these are very secure cells.