No plans for women prisoners at Grafton jail

STILL AN ISSUE: Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis and Clarence Valley Community Unions spokesman Tony King sign a petition at a save the jail rally in 2012. Photo: Adam Hourigan
STILL AN ISSUE: Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis and Clarence Valley Community Unions spokesman Tony King sign a petition at a save the jail rally in 2012. Photo: Adam Hourigan

THERE will no women prisoners coming to Grafton Jail, at least in the near future.

A Corrective Services NSW spokesman has categorically ruled out the suggestion and said there had never been any plans to do so.

"As far as I know there a no problems housing the number of women prisoners we have in the system," he said.

He said there was some foundation for the idea that former Grafton Jail workers had received letters about working at the jail.

"At the time Grafton Correctional Centre was downsized in 2012, the Industrial Relations Commission directed that Corrective Services NSW write to employees who were transferred from Grafton, saying that if the closed parts of the prison were ever reopened, those employees would receive the first offer of jobs there," he said.

"A letter explaining this decision has been sent to those employees. There is no plan at this time to reopen any of the closed parts of Grafton Correctional Centre.

Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, phoned home from an overseas holiday to have his say on the latest debate on the future of the jail.

"There is no doubt the number of prisoners in the system will continue to grow as this Coalition Government reflects the community's desire for harsher sentences for lawbreakers," he said.

"I'm not aware there are any changes planned, but on the theory it's the squeaky wheel that gets the oil, I am delighted to see the issue in the news again.

"My job is to continue to knock on doors to pass on the message we have a prison ready to house inmates that will be in the system under the law and order policies of this government."

Mr Gulaptis said he noted the Mayor of Bathurst had also made a plea to the government to re-open the Kirkconnel Jail.

"Things are tough in regional NSW and we're all competing for the same investment dollar," he said.

"But there are big differences between Grafton and Bathurst, which has a number of big institutions, like a university, to soak up the effect on the community."

He said the way the jail was closed, "like turning off a tap", which had angered Clarence Valley residents.

"It was the reason we got those public services jobs so quickly," he said.

"Reopening the Grafton Jail would be an investment in jobs and the future of Grafton," he said.

Topics:  grafton jail

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