Editorial - Saturday, August 24: What future for our jail?

IT IS concerning to me that the Attorney-General refuses to concede the closure (downsizing) of Grafton Jail was a mistake.

Yet after all the heartache, pain and upheaval, he will concede there may be a need to reopen it because of large inmate numbers.

In recent weeks I've had the privilege to speak to John Heffernan, the last governor of Grafton Jail, and get some insights into his thoughts around Correctional Services.

Few jump for joy at the thought of taxpayers' money being spent on criminals, and in particular in housing, feeding and watering society's menaces. But it does seem as though the Department of Corrective Services is trying to have the best of both worlds when it comes to rehabilitation and community sentencing options.

While closing Community Offender Support Program centres in NSW to save money, it is planning to have the "non-government" sector providing services.

I see community rehabilitation and community sentences as a positive, in the right circumstances, but for it to work, surely it can't be scrimped on.

As for the future of Grafton Jail, I guess we'll have to watch this space.

Jenna Cairney
Editor



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