The highly sensitive walk through metal detector at Tamworth Correctional Centre was too tough for even the Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson MP to get through. It took him three attempts to pass. Mr Anderson was the honorary guest invited to open the new visitor processing centre in August.
Kevin Anderson finally gets past the metal detector
The local member, the Director of Custodial Corrections Glen Scholes and the Manager of Security Michael Page marked the official opening by cutting a blue ribbon. Prison Chaplain Deacon Peter Harrison then blessed the new facility. Guests were impressed when they were shown through the centre which features lockers, a search room, a main reception area and waiting area. The K9 Unit then tested its tough screening process on Mr Anderson and the guests.
Mr Page said the visitor processing centre was built over four months by six inmates under the supervision of a CSNSW Overseer. "Two of the inmates worked previously on the awarding-winning Gundi housing project at St Heliers Correctional Centre," Mr Page said. "It was a good opportunity for them to showcase their carpentry skills, which will assist them on their release from custody."
Prison Chaplain Deacon Peter Harrisonblessing the new facility
Mr Anderson praised the group describing it as a "marvellous building". "Tamworth Correctional Centre plays a very important role not only for the community but to the families of those who work at the centre," he said. "We're standing right in the middle of Tamworth with a hospital, school and houses. There's been a correctional centre right in the middle for so long. It's a credit to staff and management that it sails underneath the radar. It's so much more than just a facility to house inmates. There's so much more behind those walls in terms of the rehabilitation of those offenders."
Mr Page said the gaol was built before visitors were allowed. "We've improved our ability to screen visitors and keep contraband out," he said. "This visitor processing centre creates a better space for staff to work while keeping the gaol and community safe."
Tamworth Correctional Centre staff
During the ceremony, Mr Scholes presented Officers David Meznaric and Kerry Ward with an award for preventing an escape while on court escort and security duties in 2012. Assistant Superintendent Doug McKinnon also received medals for 25 years of service.