Grafton jail looking better and better to reopen.
Grafton jail looking better and better to reopen. Brendan Ray

Grafton jail is looking better

USING Grafton jail is still the cheapest and fastest way for the NSW Government to tackle the increasing prison population in the state says the union representing prison officers.

The Public Service Association, which incorporates the three branches representing prison officers, has called on NSW Attorney-General Brad Hazzard and Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet to recognise these facts and reopen Grafton jail as well as other decommissioned prisons including Kirkconnell jail.

PSA general secretary Anne Gardiner said she will take the outcome of a meeting between the union and the two ministers on Friday to members today.

"There's been a lot of talk about demountables and how they provide a cost effective way of solving the problem," Ms Gardiner said.

"We are challenging those assumptions, especially the $100,000 figure for each demountable.

Reopening Grafton jail would immediately make 200 beds available, including 80 in maximum security.

"It's more than the $100,000. They will have to find places to put these buildings that don't compromise existing prisons.

"They will also have to build places to house the staff needed to look after the prisoners.

Ms Gardiner was heading to a meeting with the ministers on Friday afternoon when she spoke to The Daily Examiner.

"We will be challenging Mr Hazzard and Mr Perrottet to provide a cost-benefit analysis showing how using demountables was a better option than reopening existing jails in the state.

"Reopening Grafton jail would immediately make 200 beds available, including 80 in maximum security," she said.

"Right now police cells and court holding cells are backing up with prisoners who can't be accommodated in the state's prison system.

"There are people in police cells who have not changed their underwear in 10 days. We don't want the safety concerns conditions like that bring."

The union is also tackling the government on workers compensation legislation which no longer covers prison officers.

"It's of great concern to the PSA that members are placed in danger by the policies of this government, while not covered by workers compensation legislation," she said.



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