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Prisons to be retired as safer beds available

Published date: Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Four of the state’s smallest correctional centres will be retired, as new fit-for-purpose prison beds with a focus on rehabilitation become available as part of the NSW Government’s $3.8 billion prison expansion program.

Minister for Counter Terrorism and Corrections Anthony Roberts said the NSW Government would retire operations at Berrima Correctional Centre and the Illawarra Reintegration Centre in early 2020 and Ivanhoe and Brewarrina correctional centres in mid-2020.

“The new 1,700-bed Clarence Correctional Centre and our expansion of existing prisons in Junee, Bathurst, Cessnock, Mid North Coast, Parklea and Windsor means we will have almost 5,000 beds available in modern, built-for-purpose prisons with greater rehabilitation opportunities. They will also create an additional 700 jobs in different locations across the NSW corrections system,” Mr Roberts said.

“As this new infrastructure becomes available, Corrective Services NSW has a responsibility to ensure staff are not working in overcrowded prisons and have the opportunity to work in these safer, more secure facilities.

“We will support staff through this process and hope to retain as many of our experienced officers as possible.”

In addition, about 1,800 double-up and triple-up beds will be removed across the state, starting at centres on the South Coast, Mid North Coast, Glen Innes and Shortland, to increase the availability of safer, single-occupant cells.

As part of the operations improvement plan, Emu Plains and Kariong correctional centres will be repurposed into a dedicated mothers’ facility and transit centre, respectively.

Commissioner Peter Severin said making these changes as safe new infrastructure becomes operational gave CSNSW the best opportunity to place affected staff in other roles.

“We are committed to supporting staff and their families through this change and will do whatever is feasible to find staff other roles if that is what they desire.”

Mr Roberts said that once facilities have been retired, the NSW Government will work with the local communities to consider options for repurposing the facilities.