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Publication date: Wednesday, 6 September 2017
Minimum-security inmates from a heritage-listed correctional centre in the Southern Highlands have transformed the gardens at the facility and in the community to make them blooming marvellous in time for spring.
This month marks the first anniversary since Berrima Correctional Centre re-opened on 27 September 2016, with the gardens providing a colourful reminder of the facility’s growth and operation over the past year.
Berrima Correctional Centre Governor Mick Reid said the community has responded well to the garden maintenance program.
“The inmates are doing an amazing job maintaining a number of locations including the Berrima Courthouse lawns,” Mr Reid said.
“The Courthouse Trust has spoken very highly of the program, acknowledging that the grounds always look very neat and well maintained.
“The inmates cover another area at Sutton Forrest, with reports that the grounds look the best they have in years and that we have removed a huge amount of pressure from volunteers.”
Business Unit Manager Mark Derwent said Corrective Services Industries, an inmate employment scheme, is proactive in seeking offenders work opportunities.
“Offenders have the opportunity to complete accredited training with the aim of receiving nationally recognised qualifications,” Mr Derwent said.
“Programs such as this help put inmates on to a brighter path by providing them with practical experience and trade certificates that can assist them to gain meaningful employment in the community.
"The participants benefit in a number of ways and at the end of the day they can step back and be proud of what they’ve achieved and the positive difference they’ve made to the local community.”
All inmates undertaking supervised work outside the prison are minimum-security and carefully selected.
The 19th century sandstone centre closed in 2011 due to a drop in prisoner numbers and reopened in 2016 to cater for the increased inmate population.