Rehabilitation focus for prison expansion

Minister for Counter Terrorism and Corrections Anthony Roberts has today officially opened Cessnock Correctional Centre’s new accommodation wing, which will focus on inmate employment and training.

Mr Roberts said the 240-bed minimum-security unit would assist inmates in preparing for a law-abiding life outside of prison.

“The NSW Government is committed to reducing reoffending by five per cent by 2023, and the key to that outcome is ensuring a strong focus on inmate skills, training and education,” Mr Roberts said.

“It’s important for inmates to apply themselves and receive valuable on-the-job experience in a structured work environment, so they have the confidence to lead a positive life upon release.”

The expansion includes five new minimum-security accommodation blocks, a new gatehouse, reception, programs building, visiting area and health clinic.

Corrective Services NSW Acting Commissioner Kevin Corcoran PSM said the centre’s new wing would focus on inmate employment engagement, vocational training and program participation to maximise support for inmates nearing the end of their sentences.

“This new facility will strive to engage inmates in work and training for 10 hours each day giving them valuable experience to seek ongoing paid-work when re-integrated back into the community,” Mr Corcoran said.

“Providing meaningful work experience, targeted programs and opportunities for inmates to gain skills are important strategies to help break the cycle of reoffending.”

The expansion of Cessnock Correctional Centre is part of the NSW Government’s $3.8 billion investment into better and safer prisons. It is one of the final steps in the infrastructure plan delivering modern and secure facilities, improving safety for staff, and helping pave the path to reducing reoffending.

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