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Attorney-General wrong: Jail ready for prisoners

TAKING A STAND: Sharryn Usher blockades a Corrective Services vehicle during the protests against the cuts and job losses at Grafton Jail.
TAKING A STAND: Sharryn Usher blockades a Corrective Services vehicle during the protests against the cuts and job losses at Grafton Jail.

A WOMAN acknowledged as the heart and soul of the picket line during the Grafton Jail protests has slammed the NSW Attorney-General's comments on the state of the prison.

NSW Teachers Federation representative Sharryn Usher said Attorney-General Brad Hazzard's comments about the jail show him to be ignorant of the state of the institution.

"Doesn't he realise most of the jail that houses prisoners was built after 1985," Ms Usher said.

"The part of the prison nearest the hospital could be dusted off and opened up for prisoners in three days."

Ms Usher said she had been in negotiations where Corrective Services managers had told her Grafton Jail would be opened almost immediately if prison numbers spiked.

Despite her assertion, both Corrective Services NSW and the Attorney-General's department have denied there are any plans to reopen the closed sections of the jail.

Earlier this week Opposition justice spokesman Paul Lynch said Mr Hazzard made the comments when addressing a parliamentary committee on August 20.

"If you want to go and spend some time in Maitland and Grafton good luck to you, but I do not want anybody to be in those sorts of places. I think we have other facilities at the moment that are quite adequate," Mr Hazzard said.

Mr Lynch said it was a clear indication the State Government had ruled out any increased use of Grafton Jail.

"Despite the crisis in overcrowding in the State prison system, Mr Hazzard is obdurate in keeping Grafton at its current level of under-utilisation," Mr Lynch said.

"Mr Hazzard also disputed the BOCSAR prediction of further prison population increases.

"This government's handling of corrections policy is shambolic. They sat on their hands while numbers escalated."

Topics:  attorney-general brad hazzard grafton jail nsw state government



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