Grafton Correctional Centre will be closed from August 5.
Grafton Correctional Centre will be closed from August 5.

Old Grafton jail closure date confirmed

AFTER housing prisoners for almost 130 years, Corrective Services NSW has confirmed the closure date for the old Grafton jail.

In December last year NSW Corrective Services deputy Commissioner Kevin Corcoran announced the prison beds at Grafton Correctional Centre, including the residential section completed in the 1980s, were obsolete.

NSW Corrective Services assistant Commissioner Kevin Corcoran, left, with Grafton jail Governor Michelle Paynter and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis outside the old Grafton jail to announce it will close in 2020.
NSW Corrective Services assistant Commissioner Kevin Corcoran, left, with Grafton jail Governor Michelle Paynter and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis outside the old Grafton jail to announce it will close in 2020.

A Corrective Services NSW spokeswoman confirmed that as of next month, the jail will no longer house any inmates.

"The final group of minimum-security female inmates will be transferred ahead of the centre's retirement on August 5," the spokeswoman said.

"A small number of staff will stay on site in the following weeks to decommission the centre."

The announcement comes as Australia's largest prison, the Clarence Correctional Centre at Lavadia, enters its third week of operations.

The new Clarence Correctional Centre, opening next Thursday 25 June, will deliver 600 jobs and a $560 million boost to the regional economy, according to Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis.
The new Clarence Correctional Centre, opening next Thursday 25 June, will deliver 600 jobs and a $560 million boost to the regional economy, according to Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis.

The $800 million state-of-the-art facility, which can house up to 1700 male and female inmates, was completed in late June.

A spokesman from the prison's operator Serco confirmed the first group of inmates arrived at Clarence Correctional Centre on July 1, with more groups arriving each week as the centre ramps up.

Serco AsPac CEO Mark Irwin said the new jail was purpose-built to reduce reoffending, and the facility features commercial grade kitchen, industry and vocational areas, educational facilities, specialist healthcare services, multi-faith facilities, indoor and outdoor activity spaces.

"It was important to Serco that this facility would be part of and benefit the local community, which is why we have partnered with local community organisations and indigenous groups to help deliver programs and services to support inmate rehabilitation," he said.

"We're working with local industry partners and education providers to ensure our programs provide inmates with the skills and qualifications needed to gain employment on release. Wherever possible, supplies required to operate the prison are procured locally, and many of our staff are Clarence Valley locals."

General manager Glen Scholes at the Clarence Correctional Centre. New Grafton jail.
General manager Glen Scholes at the Clarence Correctional Centre. New Grafton jail.

With the old Grafton jail's closure date less than a month away, no plans have yet been announced for the future of the site.

Grafton resident Dan Fahey has called for the old jail to be handed back to the Grafton community and re-purposed as an investment for the future.