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​Grafton prison closes as Clarence opens

Published date: Tuesday, 27 August 2019

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The NSW Government today announced that due to the significant investment in the new Clarence Correctional Centre and the creation of 600 jobs in the Clarence electorate, the Grafton Correctional Centre will permanently close in mid-2020.

Minister for Counter Terrorism and Corrections Anthony Roberts said the NSW Government has invested $700 million to build the 1,700-bed Clarence Correctional Centre, due to open next year, allowing for the closure of the more dated correctional facility in Grafton.

“The brand new correctional facility in Clarence will open up 600 jobs in the Clarence region, allowing staff currently employed at the Grafton Correctional Centre an opportunity to seek employment at the new facility before the Grafton prison is scheduled to close in mid-2020,” Mr Roberts said.

“The NSW Government committed $3.8 billion in 2016 to the Prison Bed Capacity Program, investing in new facilities and expanding existing centres to improve safety and meet future needs.

“As new fit for purpose infrastructure becomes available, Corrective Services NSW has a responsibility to staff and inmates to use these safer and more secure facilities.

“Today’s announcement will give staff time to make informed decisions about their future.”

CSNSW Assistant Commissioner, Custodial Corrections, Kevin Corcoran this morning met staff at the prison.

“I appreciate the impact this will have on staff and their families. I have assured them we will do everything we reasonably can to assist them in exploring all alternative options,” Mr Corcoran said.

The 115 staff and 280 inmates will transition out of the prison over the next 10 months. There will be a voluntary redundancy program for some staff. Human Resources officers will be based at the prison for the next few months to give staff the support they need.

CSNSW will increase its non-prison jobs in Grafton, in areas such as inmate transport and Community Corrections, and other jobs will become available when the expansion of the Mid-North Coast Correctional Centre opens at the end of this year.

CSNSW Commissioner Peter Severin said the closure was announced with sadness. “The prison has been part of the community for over a century. We thank the people of Grafton for their support over that period. Grafton will continue to play a critical role in the NSW corrections system with the new 1,700 bed Clarence Correctional Centre,” Mr Severin said. Mr Roberts said the NSW Government will consult with the local community and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis in determining the best future use of the prison.