The final photo of Grafton Jail staff after the picket line disbanded on day six of the Grafton jail community picket line in 2012.
The final photo of Grafton Jail staff after the picket line disbanded on day six of the Grafton jail community picket line in 2012. Debrah Novak

Jail inquiry is too late for Grafton

THE recommendations from an inquiry inspired by the downsizing of Grafton Jail last year are too little and have come too late says a former jail governor.

The retired governor, John Heffernan, made a submission to the NSW Upper House Inquiry into NSW Jail Closures, which visited Grafton earlier this year.

The findings of the inquiry were released on Monday.

"I think it's very disappointing," Mr Heffernan said. "If the processes it recommended were in place before the jail cuts happened, I doubt the jail would be closed.

"We had to go through the process of shattering the community to get those recommendations. It's too little, too late."

Mr Heffernan said the most disappointing aspect of the inquiry was the failure of Attorney-General Greg Smith and former Corrective Services Commissioner Ron Woodham to give evidence.

"The two people who really know what happened - the attorney-general and the commissioner - didn't have their say," he said.

"I'm really disappointed in the attorney-general. He just said he didn't think the inquiry needed to hear from him and ignored it."

Mr Heffernan said it was now unlikely Grafton Jail would re-open in the near future.

"They've said it can happen in principle, but what does that really mean?" he said.

"It means they will do what they like, when they like."

Mr Heffernan said the inquiry said the government had handled the situation badly, but would not change its mind to save face.

"Even if the department is screaming out for prison beds, I don't think they'll re-open Grafton," he said.



CHASING DREAMS: Brothers make giant leap in the ring

premium_icon CHASING DREAMS: Brothers make giant leap in the ring

COTTEN brothers chasing glory in professional fight debuts.

Who made the cut in our $40,000 art prize and why?

premium_icon Who made the cut in our $40,000 art prize and why?

JADA finalists some of country's best contemporary artists

GRAPE EXPECTATIONS: Taking a stand by taking a seat

premium_icon GRAPE EXPECTATIONS: Taking a stand by taking a seat

Occasionally rules need a tweak, so too our national anthem

Local Partners