GRAFTON Jail's role in the economy of the city is exaggerated, claims State Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis.
Mr Gulaptis told The Daily Examiner the community was not tied to the jail.
"The jail does not buy in any- thing except milk and bread," he said.
"And half the staff live in places like Red Rock and Corindi, which are really more in Coffs Harbour than the Clarence Valley.
"The impact of this restructure is more psychological than real."
Mr Gulaptis said he had tried to fight the job cuts, but said a culture of bullying and harassment in the jail, revealed in a confidential report to the Attorney-General, had made his task impossible.
He said this culture had convinced the Attorney-General and the Corrective Services Department to proceed with the restructure.
"If you have a box of apples and there are a few bad apples in there, you don't take the box," Mr Gulaptis said.
Mr Gulaptis denied the job losses at the jail were a broken election promise.
"I'm sure I said the jail would not close," he said.
However, Public Service Association assistant general secretary Shane O'Brien was adamant this was not the case.
"We sought iron-clad guarantees that there were to be no more job losses at the jail," he said.
"Mr Gulaptis guaranteed this, but it now appears at the same time as he made this promise the Attorney-General and the department were planning this restructure."