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Better ​​Prisons

The Government has announced a series of measures to improve the standards and value for money provided by the state’s prison system. This includes the introduction of processes known as benchmarking and market testing, supported by an extensive infrastructure renewal program, and reform of education and vocational training for inmates. We have also embarked on a major recruitment drive.
 
Corrective Services NSW performs well in many areas, but there is potential for improvement. For example, CSNSW needs to improve its rehabilitative efforts, and educational and vocational training services, to contribute to reduced reoffending and safer communities. 
 
The Report On Government Services (ROGS) 2016 indicates other areas for improvement. The need for improvement was also described in a report from the Audit Office of NSW earlier this year. 

More generally, innovation and the role of private operators are important considerations in many prison systems in Australia and around the world. Below are reports on these matters from Western Australia and Queensland. 

Infrastructure

The Government has announced a major $3.8 billion expansion of the prison system, subject to the preparation and approval of business cases. Definite new projects are a new prison for Grafton and a major expansion of Parklea Correctional Centre. 

Berrima Correctional Centre and the Wollongong COSP will be reopened.​

Benchmarking

This involves detailed performance targets being set and reported on regularly. Prison managers will be given a set budget within which to achieve these targets through improvements in operations. Benchmarking will be rolled out gradually over the next two to three years.

Market Testing

On 20 March Minister David Elliott announced that the John Morony Correctional Centre would be market tested. This means there will be a tender process for the future operation of the centre. Corrective Services NSW has been invited to be part of that tender and make an “in house bid”. Such bids by public operators have been successful in other parts of the world.
 
The unions are part of the in house bid team. Expressions of Interest were called for at the end of March 2016, and there will be a decision in early 2017.​

Education and Vocational Training for Inmates

The Government has decided to outsource most of CSNSW’ education and vocational training services for inmates. The Intensive Learning Centres will be retained and a range of new positions will be created to determine inmate needs. CSNSW will work with and monitor specialist organisations who will deliver education and vocational training in the future. The Government is expecting that these reforms will double the number of inmates completing literacy and numeracy courses, and increase vocational training by at least 20 per cent. There will also be changes to some of the courses provided to enhance employment opportunities for inmates released from custody. Information and support will be provided for affected staff during this process.​

For more information, you can read the CSNSW factsheets about the project.

CSNSW factsheets
Further reading

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