27.3 C
Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Inquiry savages govt handling of prison closures

Latest News

Ballina Shire Council meeting wrap-up

The last Ballina meeting was another bruising encounter for some councillors, though there were several unanimous decisions too.

Other News

Transparency needed

Janelle Saffin MP, State Member for Lismore. I read with interest Mia Armitage’s front page article in last week’s Echo...

Constitutional referendum/poll for LG elections for Byron Shire?

Is the wards fight back again? Byron Shire Council staff have advised, in the upcoming agenda, that ‘Council may conduct a Constitutional referendum or poll in conjunction with the Local Government Election, to be held in September 2021’.

Ballina Shire Council meeting wrap-up

The last Ballina meeting was another bruising encounter for some councillors, though there were several unanimous decisions too.

Cavanbah centre gets a taste of 3×3 basketball

The Byron Beez basketball team in collaboration with the U League hosted a 3x3 tournament at the Cavanbah centre at the end of January that attracted 30 teams.

‘Groundhog Day’ shifts Splendour to November

Splendour in the Grass 2021 organisers say that Groundhog Day jokes aside, the festival will be rescheduled for a late spring edition, from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 November.

So you think you’d like to run for Council?

Residents considering running for Tweed Council can attend briefing sessions to find out about being a councillor ahead of local government elections.

Dominic Feain

A parliamentary inquiry has savaged the state government’s handling of the closure and downsizing of corrective services facilities, with Grafton singled out as one of the worst affected regions.

The committee made nine recommendations which included recommendations of significant financial and infrastructure support for the Clarence Valley.

The report described employee relocations to areas that underwent further cuts as ‘highly irresponsible’, adding that the NSW government should consider committing funds to justice reinvestment programs based in Grafton.

It went on to say that ‘should there be a need to build new correctional centres in the north of the state’ that Corrective Services NSW ‘give consideration to planning a new facility in the Clarence Valley region’.

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis welcomed the inquiry, particularly the recommendation of investment.

‘The inquiry pretty well reflected what I was saying and what the community was saying,’ Mr Gulaptis said.

‘The big plus was that the committee came to Grafton and had a look at the facility, and brought the commissioner along so he could see physically what state it was in, and the fact it could be reopened.

‘But to reopen it we’re certainly going to have to see inmate numbers go up.

‘I think the minimum section of the jail could handle about 180 inmates so whether that’s big enough in terms of an economy of scale I’m not sure but the fact that Grafton has been a prison town since the 1850s, an expansion to accommodate more would be welcomed.’

The select committee which conducted the inquiry, the Closure or Downsizing of Corrective Services NSW Facilities, acknowledged that the bulk of submissions and evidence received from ‘inquiry participants related to the downsizing of the Grafton Correctional Centre, and in particular the lack of consultation with the community’.

‘Indeed, the evidence suggests that the decision to downsize the facility came as a shock to many, including to senior figures within the community such as the mayor and the local member of parliament,’ the report said.

The committee also supported a strategy to provide support to Indigenous inmates and their families adversely affected by isolation when relocated to a facility further away from their families and Country as a result of the closing or downsizing of a correctional centre.

‘The strategy should include mechanisms by which families can be provided support to increase their ability to visit inmates, as well as additional alternate methods to facilitate increased contact between inmates and their families,’ the committee recommended.

Corrective Services NSW were also called on to undertake comprehensive rural community impact statements as part of any future proposals to close or downsize correctional centres located in rural and regional NSW.

The report said the impact statements should include information about the projected social and economic impacts of the decision on local communities, including short, mid and long term impacts; and be submitted to Cabinet to assist in their consideration of proposals to downsize or close correctional facilities.

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Storylines: Uluru Statement from the Heart

The 'Uluru Statement from the Heart' seeks constitutional reform to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have a say and be involved over matters that impact their lives.

‘Groundhog Day’ shifts Splendour to November

Splendour in the Grass 2021 organisers say that Groundhog Day jokes aside, the festival will be rescheduled for a late spring edition, from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 November.

Lennox Rise development clears another hurdle

The massive new residential development planned west of Epiq in Lennox Head continued its progress towards becoming reality at the last Ballina Shire Council meeting.

So you think you’d like to run for Council?

Residents considering running for Tweed Council can attend briefing sessions to find out about being a councillor ahead of local government elections.