NSW prisoners will build their inmates' cells as the states jail population bulges over capacity

NSW prisoners will soon be building “pop-up” cells for their new inmates, as the state’s Corrective Services battle to find space for the bulging jail population.

The new initiative introduced by Attorney-General Brad Hazzard will see $10 million spent on the building of 80 modular cells, fitted out with steel cage frames, steel doors and steel bars on the windows, according to News Limited.

Prisoners at Muswellbrook jail have been slated as the construction team for the new cells which will be installed at John Morony Correctional Centre, north-west of Sydney, a process which Hazzard said will be a “cheaper and faster to build” solution for the current population problem.

“We are now assessing the most suitable locations and expect the first cells will become operational by the end of August and stay in use as long as required,” Hazzard told News Ltd.

But not everyone is as pleased with the initiative as Hazzard.

Former Grafton Jail governor John Heffernan says demountables are just a “band-aid” solution to an ongoing problem.

“They’re putting in place short-term measures for a long-term problem – it’s a recipe for disaster,” Heffernan told The Daily Examiner last month.

“They’re going to have to build a new jail… building silly demountables and increasing cell beds – all that’s going to do is put staff at risk.”

Mid-last year it was reported that the state’s new crime policing policies were resulting in a 7% increase in prisoner numbers but were being implemented without creating more jail space to hold the convicted. Read more about that here.

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research estimates that if the current trend continues, NSW’s prison population will likely rise by 17% to about 12,500 inmates by March 2015 – well over the peak of 10,917 recorded in March last year.

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