Publication date: Tuesday, 30 January 2018
Minister for Corrections David Elliott today commissioned a new 400-bed Rapid Build Prison at Cessnock, following a record construction time of just 54 weeks.
The prison constructed by Lend Lease is part of the NSW Government’s $3.8 billion infrastructure program, supporting the recruitment of more than 1,400 new custodial officers and about 100 Community Corrections officers across the state.
The new high-tech prison, equipped with more than 600 CCTV cameras and three perimeter fences, provides the highest level of security for staff and the community.
“I’m thrilled to be opening the Hunter Correctional Centre today, one of Australia’s two Rapid Build Prisons, which has lived up to its name by being constructed in record time,” Mr Elliott said.
Central Coast and Hunter MLC Taylor Martin said the new centre would employ about 220 staff.
“The Hunter Correctional Centre will not only keep the community safe but will help the local economy by creating rewarding career opportunities,” Mr Martin said.
Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said officers will have access to thermal imaging cameras to help stop contraband entering the prison, and a 24/7 Immediate Action Team to respond to incidents.
“Inmate routines will be in education, employment or rehabilitation programs for up to 12 hours a day, compared to six hours a day at similar centres,” Mr Severin said.
Construction finished in October 2017. Since then, officers have been testing the facility to ensure safety and security.
Along with the delivery of infrastructure, the NSW Government is investing $237 million in programs to reduce reoffending, focusing on persistent domestic violence offenders and other high-risk offenders.