By Roxanne Squires
NOWRA HILL, Australia – A new 200-bed expansion has been completed at the South Coast Correctional Centre and is ready to move in inmates.
The new facility is a part of the Government of New South Wales’ (NSW) $3.8 billion infrastructure program to help ensure community safety, and to reduce recidivism rates among offenders through upgraded educational and work programs.
The South Coast Correctional Centre expansion project includes the addition of a 160-bed maximum-security wing at the back of the centre, an enlargement of the visiting area, clinic and car park; and improvements to existing staff and inmate accommodation facilities, including a new staff amenities building and administration block.
The new 25,833-square-foot expansion at South Nowra will provide a designated building to offer inmate rehabilitation programs and an inmate workshop.
The Minister for Corrections, David Elliot, said that the additional inmate beds are expected to bolster sentencing and parole reforms, giving the courts improved choices to hold criminals accountable and reduce re-offending, as reported by the South Coast Register.
With the full expansion of the current 690-bed facility, this addition is expected to create roughly 120 new jobs at the minimum-security facility.
Greg Lake, NSW executive director of Infrastructure, said that this new facility will improve inmate’s access to education and reintegration services, offering various trade skills to prepare for release.
“It’s a fairly high-security operation, even for a minimum-security facility, but it feels more like a campus rather than a jail,” said Lake. “This approach is meant to normalize their experience and help reintroduce them into society. Overall, I’m really proud of the result.”
Inmates are offered employment and vocational training opportunities while in custody, ranging from refurbishing jobs to engineering jobs, according to the NSW government website.
Construction work on the site began May 2017 and finished July 2018. Inmates have already started transferring to the new complex.