MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has welcomed an announcement from Corrections Minister David Elliott that the Glen Innes Correctional Centre would be expanded by 52 beds, as part of changes to cope with the state’s rising prison population.
Mr Marshall said the additional beds would be installed at the centre within the next three weeks, with the new inmates to follow shortly after that.
Glen Innes is a male only minimum security pre-release correctional facility which is used to prepare inmates for release into the community.
Mr Marshall said the expansion would take the capacity of the centre over 180 inmates and would require the employment of additional permanent staff and prison officers.
“Glen Innes Severn Mayor Col Price and I raised expansion opportunities with the Minister during his visit with us to the correctional centre in July this year,” Mr Marshall said.
“The centre has enormous latent capacity and we put a proposal to the Minister that an expansion of around 50 beds could be easily accommodated without the need for new infrastructure to be built.”
“This expansion will create extra local jobs, which is always good news, and this could just be the beginning for Glen Innes Correctional Centre.”
Mr Marshall said that two other correctional facilities across the state would also be expanded immediately, including 15 beds at Wellington Correctional Centre by end of the month and 114 beds at the Grafton Correctional Centre in the next three weeks.
He said an extra 1,985 prisoner beds had been funded by the government since March 2014 and it would deliver additional beds in the longer term with a new 600-bed prison at Grafton and the 400-bed expansion of Parklea.
“Stronger law enforcement and sentences which reflect community expectations have led to an increase in the prison population,” Mr Marshall said.
“It is a challenge for the system and the government has an infrastructure plan to accommodate these prisoners, which I am very pleased includes a larger role for the Glen Innes Correctional Centre.”