More inmates for Grafton Jail while new prison built

THE PRISON population of Grafton jail will increase while a new jail to house about 600 inmates is being built, says a leaked email to prison staff from NSW Corrective Services commissioner Peter Severin.

Commissioner Severin was writing to staff about plans to deal with prison numbers until the new jail was completed in 2019.

"We will continue to implement short term solutions (double-ups and use of spare capacity - including the existing Grafton Centre) augmented by medium term capacity increases (modular and other rapid increase options)," the email read.

"This is a smart approach and under the circumstances of rising inmate numbers the only logical one."

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The commissioner's email also revealed his department has resumed hiring full-time staff.

Meanwhile the news of a new jail for Grafton made Mayor Richie Williamson's day.

Cr Williamson described it as the "icing on the cake" of the $4.5 billion infrastructure spend on the Pacific Highway and second Grafton bridge.

"There's going to be a lot of jobs from it in the construction phase plus, I've been told, close to 200 permanent jobs once the facility is operational," Cr Williamson said.

"It's good news the jail will be a greenfield site, because of the number of construction jobs that will create."

He said council will help fast track the jail's planning when a site is being chosen.

"As long as a site ticks the boxes, whatever zoning is needed, council will play its part."

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis cannot see any down sides.

"This is terrific news for Grafton because it will provide jobs throughout the construction phase, a sustained workforce into the future and will help to underpin the economy of the Clarence Valley," Mr Gulaptis said.

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