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Publication date: Tuesday 12 December 2017
Corrective Services NSW staff at the new Macquarie Correctional Centre have received site-specific training and are well prepared for the opening of the new-design facility this week.
The 400-bed maximum-security Rapid-Build Prison will operate with around 220 staff, some of whom have moved to the Central West to work in the high-tech, dormitory-style facility.
Minister for Corrections David Elliott said the new prison format was a drawcard for many staff, who wanted to be at the forefront of the latest rehabilitation strategies.
"Everything in this prison – from the dormitory-style accommodation to the inmates' carefully structured day – is designed to maximise inmate participation," Mr Elliott said.
"With the guidance and hard-work of our dedicated staff, these inmates will be prepared to leave this centre and make a positive contribution to the community."
Macquarie's Education Services Coordinator Matthew Felvus wore the prison blues as an officer at Long Bay for nine years, before working at Head Office and attaining an education degree.
Mr Felvus said the move from Sydney will allow him to deliver comprehensive training to a group of highly engaged inmates.
"This centre is unique in that it provides offenders with training courses and the practical experience to back them up, so that some of them will leave with two or three full qualifications," Mr Felvus said.
"Lack of education is a key reason offenders come back to prison, so I'm excited to work in a centre that offers them an unparalleled level of access to training and employment."
Inmates at the centre can gain qualifications and experience in a variety of areas, including business, fitness, warehousing, cleaning, operations and hospitality.
Manager of Offender Services and Programs Julie Telfer said the new prison format encourages inmates to take control of their futures.
"These inmates have volunteered or been hand-picked to be here, so I hope that has a big impact on their motivation and successful rehabilitation," the former Sydneysider said.
"Their carefully structured days and access to information via touch-screen technology helps them become more self-sufficient and better prepared for reintegration into the community.
They will also have access to a full suite of behavioural programs addressing issues such as aggression, addiction and domestic abuse.
The prison is part of the NSW Government's $3.8 billion prison infrastructure program to address the state's rising prison population.
Matthew Felvus and Julie Telfer at the new Rapid-Build Prison at Wellington - Courtesy CSNSW