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Engineering inmates put pedal to the metal

Macquarie Correctional Centre's workshops provide valuable industry experience

Publication date: Friday, 6 July 2018

Production is booming at Macquarie Correctional Centre's engineering workshops, creating quality metal beds for prisons while providing vital skills and employment for 180 inmates.

Macquarie's Manager of Industries Greg Rapley said inmates – in conjunction with CSNSW officers - have designed and manufactured more than 120 steel beds for other correctional centres since January.

"Our heavy engineering workshop was tasked with designing beds that were strong enough to comply with security standards and light enough to be handled and easily manoeuvred into pre-made cells," Mr Rapley said.

"By involving inmates in the design process we are not only giving them ownership of their work, we're providing them with valuable industry experience ahead of their release.

"This on-the-job training enables inmates to learn skills like design, welding, machine operation and work health and safety, meaning they're better placed to find employment and make a positive contribution to the community once they leave custody."

Since January the centre's two workshops have produced more than 120 beds, various building components for local companies, and equipment for the centre including chin-up bars, safe stands, work benches, meal trollies and gas bottle cages.

Seventeen inmates are in the process of enrolling in Certificate II Engineering traineeships, with more expected to follow.

Governor Jason Hodges said the new Rapid-Build Prison model has a heavy focus on inmate engagement, education and employment which boosts the industries' productivity.

"The inmates' days have been carefully structured to focus on intense participation in work and education in two rotating shifts, which maximises production hours and inmate employment," Mr Hodges said.

"This revolutionary approach allows all of the industries at Macquarie more production hours –and more output – while providing employment for every inmate at the centre."

The heavy engineering workshop is one several industries at Macquarie including furniture, light engineering, laundry, food services, cleaning, hospitality and ground/facilities maintenance.

The single and bunk bed with ladders manufactured at Macquarie will be used in the Cessnock, Mid North Coast, Bathurst and MRRC correctional centre expansions.

Above: Workshops at Macquarie Correctional Centre have designed and prooduced more than 120 steel beds, and given inmates valuable on the job training.