The country’s first rapid-build prison complex was officially opened in Wellington on Friday.
Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) government officials were on hand at the Macquarie Correctional Centre to witness the groundbreaking occasion which comes 17 months since the first sod was turned.
The complex was built as part of the NSW Government’s $3.8 billion Prison Bed Capacity Program.
CSNSW Commissioner, Peter Severin, said the complex – a maximum-security prison designed to house 400 inmates in dormitory style – is a revolutionary approach to incarceration and rehabilitation.
Mr Severin said the complex will also help alleviate the state-wide pressures and make CSNSW operations safer and more efficient.
The first of the inmates will arrive next week and all going to plan the complex will be at full capacity by mid-February 2018.
Inmates will be introduced to a full spectrum of intervention programs, with opportunities to gain qualifications in business, fitness, warehousing, cleaning, operations and hospitality.
According to the Honourable David Elliott MP, if inmates aren’t being rehabilitated, the system is failing.
“We have to set a standard so high that other jurisdictions can continue to look at,” he said.
Mr Elliott made note of the Wellington community for embracing CSNSW on the nation-first project which will create 220 jobs.
“In a region like Wellington the multiplier effect is going to be beneficial – that’s 200 families, a high demand for schooling, recreation, hospitality; it’s reliable, regular employment,” he said.
“It’s a great example of the positives a jail in a community can bring.
“Any dollar spent in regional NSW is a dollar well spent.”
Macquarie Correctional Centre functional manager, Senior Assistant Superintendent Brett Lees, said he has faith in the system to produce results.
“I have complete confidence this is going to be a fantastic system,” he said.
“It gives the inmates a lot of opportunities to better themselves.”
The rapid-build prison was developed by Corrective Services NSW in collaboration with Phillips Smith Conwell Architects.