Macquarie Inmates build woodwork skills with Street Library project

Inmates at the Macquarie Correctional Centre work on a street library. PHOTO: Corrective Services NSW.
Inmates at the Macquarie Correctional Centre work on a street library. PHOTO: Corrective Services NSW.

Inmates at the Macquarie Correctional Centre are getting a new lease on life by contributing to a new initiative designed to help provide prisoners with useful work skills. 

The project involves building new street libraries which are small, wooden enclosures designed to house public books on the street for residents to borrow. 

Macquarie Correctional Centre Manager of Industries Greg Rapley said the building project will introduce inmates to skills that they equip them for work and life after Macquarie.

"We continue to expand and seek new opportunities for inmates to upskill and to mirror what the industry trends are on the outside, so they are job ready on release."

The correctional facility's workshop currently has 60 of the 400 inmates at Macquarie working to produce street libraries.

The inmates work across two shifts to build the libraries and have already produced over 200, along with many other items of furniture and other woodwork.

Inmates work within a graded system that's similar to those that exist on the outside of the facility, providing them with the opportunities to earn wages and promotions while they work.

Providing the inmates with education and employment has boosted productivity within the workshop, overseer Ben Matthew said. 

"[The Rapid-Build Prison model] has created an atmosphere where inmates are coming to us motivated and keen to work longer hours," Mr Matthew said. 

"We are currently in the process of signing up to eight inmates for traineeships so we are really focussing on getting them ready to be better equipped for the outside world."

This story Inmates turn over a new page with street library workshop first appeared on Wellington Times.