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​Inmates refurbish thousands of computers while gaining vital work skills 

Published date: Monday 17 June 2019

[PDF version of this media release]

Inmates at a Sydney prison are helping refurbish more than 5,000 computers from recycled parts, while developing a strong work ethic and gaining vital skills. 

Corrective Services Industries staff at the Dawn De Loas Correctional Centre technology unit, at Silverwater, are training inmates to repair, reassemble and refurbish the computers for use in the prison system. 

CSI Senior Overseer Jasvinder Oberai said the work is a valuable opportunity for inmates to learn new skills and prepare for employment in the community. 

“This technology unit not only teaches inmates how to repair basic computer hardware, by replacing the RAM, hard-drive or power supply and installing approved software, but it also gives them experience in cable assembly work,” Mr Oberai said. 

“Around 20 inmates work to disassemble the units, repair and repurpose the computer components, to create functioning desktop computers without buying any additional equipment.

“Once the computer is functioning, the inmates load approved software onto the machine to be redistributed within the prison system for inmate use.” 

Dawn De Loas’ technology unit has reconditioned more than 5,000 computers in recent years, with around 1,500 in current operation. 

The computers are used by inmates to access programs and information relevant to their education and rehabilitation. They do not have access to the internet. 

Overseer Daljit Singh said the work helps inmates better prepare for the demands of employment post-release. 

“Our industries require high quality and standards, and a strong work ethic, which gives inmates the self-confidence and valuable experience they need to find a job when they’re released,” Mr Singh said. 

“We also have a long-term partnership with a local company that not only uses our services, but provides work release and post-release employment opportunities to some of our inmates, which can be a significant boost to their rehabilitation.” 

Dawn De Loas houses around 500 minimum-security male inmates. Other industries at the centre include meal preparation and metal fabrication.