Australia’s largest prison, the Clarence Correctional Centre, was officially opened on Thursday June 25, by Minister for Counter Terrorism and Corrections, Anthony Roberts MP.
The new facility features bullet proof glass windows with no bars and will have a strong focus on rehabilitation to help reduce the rate of reoffending. Inmates will each have their own Wi-Fi tablet which enables them to access an array of apps as well as access TAFE courses to help offenders reintegrate back into the community through work opportunities.
Prisoners will begin transferring to the new 1700-bed facility as of July 1, from other correctional facilities around the state, including the Grafton Gaol.
The new Correctional Centre currently employs 350 local people and between 20 to 30 people from outside the area. The Centre will eventually provide jobs for around 600 people.
Correctional Centre, general manager Glen Scholes has 30 years’ experience in corrective services and said that not everyone who has completed their training will stay on in the job, because jobs in prisons are not for everyone. He said that what he has found from having run a lot of regional prisons is that once things stabilise you get about two percent of staff per month who realise that the job is not for them.
“As it’s a new facility, it will probably be a lot lower than two percent here and there are heaps of opportunities; progression, succession, planning etc (to encourage staff to stay),” he said.
Mr Scholes said that for the people who are currently working at the gaol, the employment future for their family looks bright.
“You look at the likes of old Bathurst and Goulburn and those areas are all inter-generational employment,” Mr Scholes said.
“So, you’re looking at people who don’t have to leave the valley and go and do a degree elsewhere and live in Sydney with all the rat race.
“They will be able to live and work here and that to me is the real big plus,” he said.