UNIONS and jail staff fighting the decision to cut more than 100 jobs from Grafton Jail have halted the removal of inmates from the centre.
A meeting between the unions and Department of Corrective Services officials yesterday won the concession, which has stopped the transfer of jail inmates to other prisons.
The union said around 80 of the jail's 240 inmates had been moved gone as of yesterday.
The assistant general secretary of the Public Service Association, Shane O'Brien, said the decision to halt the removal of inmates while department officials sought advice from their political masters was a positive sign.
"Maybe the public pressure has given the government pause for thought," Mr O'Brien said.
"We've always believed this situation needs to be dealt with at a political level.
"This is an indication the government is prepared to listen to reason."
Union officials had earlier met with about 80 jail workers to discuss the proposal they would take to department officers.
After more than an hour's discussion the meeting decided on a motion that staff not participate in any of the movement of inmates out of the jail that was part of the restructure.
Mr O'Brien said the community needed to maintain its pressure on this issue by signing petitions and attending tomorrow's rally.