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L-R Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, Minister for Corrections Anthony

Prison construction nearing completion

Lynne Mowbray |

It has been two years since the turning of the first sod at the Clarence Correctional Centre and this week marked the completion of buildings in the male minimum security section.

The 1700 bed correctional centre is only one year away from taking inmates and will become Australia’s largest prison.

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis was joined by the Minister for Corrections Anthony Roberts and Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin, on Wednesday last week, to view the progress.

In a media statement, Minister for Corrections Anthony Roberts said the new prison will focus heavily on security and surveillance, as well as the rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates.

“Each inmate will be monitored 24/7 by approximately 1,650 cameras across the complex and biometric technology. The secure perimeter fencing will also feature specialised sensors, cameras, microwave technology and microphonics.

“The prison has also been designed to reduce recidivism. Across the centre, community buildings have been designed to deliver cohort-specific programs and services, preparing inmates for release.”

Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said inmates can participate in meaningful work experiences and trades, preparing them for reintegration into the community.

“The centre is equipped with 10 industry areas, furnished for carpentry and woodworking, joinery, heavy, medium and light steel fabrication, sandblasting and coating, bakery, general assembly and small engine repairs.

“There will be partnership opportunities for local registered training organisations, businesses and community organisations to assist in the delivery of rehabilitation opportunities,” he said.

After viewing the male minimum security section, Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said that it is an incredible facility and lends itself to rehabilitating offenders.

“The open air aspect gives inmates the feeling that they are human beings and they’re not just locked away forever and a day,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“I think that’s one of the wonderful benefits of this; none the less this is still a prison, you still can’t get out and you still have penalties if you break the rules.

“Inmates will be required to fill in their whole day; it’s going to be a structured day. It’s not like they’re going to lie in bed or sit around doing weights all day.

“They will have a structured program to get them back into society when they leave here.

“The technology that is implemented throughout this facility is really state of the art and not only will it make it safe for the custodial staff and other staff that work here, it will be beneficial to the inmates and they won’t hurt themselves either.

“The male minimum security section of the prison is supposed to be finished by December 31, so there’s not long to go. It’s pretty well nearing completion now. Obviously they’re going to have to commission it and to make sure that everything works during the first three months of next year, before they start introducing inmates,” he said.

One of the many accommodation blocks