No plans for new Tamworth jail

Standing firm: Minister for Corrections David Elliott, pictured left, with Mayor Col Murray in Tamworth on Friday. Photo: Haley Craig

Standing firm: Minister for Corrections David Elliott, pictured left, with Mayor Col Murray in Tamworth on Friday. Photo: Haley Craig

A VISION for a new correctional centre for the Tamworth area may be dead in the water.

NSW Corrections Minister David Elliott - the man who would be responsible for signing off on the development – said he was unaware of any plans afoot for a new facility in the city.

Mr Elliott’s comments follow 18 months of silence on the subject from local figureheads following highly publicised speculation in 2014 that a jail housing up to 600 inmates would be built near Tamworth airport.

“I would never increase a jail in Tamworth unless I discussed it with Kevin Anderson and at the moment that is not the plan,” Mr Elliott told media on Friday.

When asked if he had been approached recently about a new jail facility, Mr Anderson said it had been some time since the matter was brought to his attention

“Not in the last 18 months,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Elliott said there were no moves to tighten security at the Glen Innes minimum security correctional centre, despite at least eight escapes by inmates over the past three years. But he said the appropriate checks and balances were in place.

“Glen Innes is a minimum security prison, it’s a prison that is there to assist those that are going to be released soon,” he said.

“It’s a prison farm and those prisoners that have been through there, more often than not, have left with a high level of skills.

“Minimum security prisons, by definition, provide a lot more leniency and trusting environment.

“The unfortunate thing is those prisoners that have escaped when they are recaptured they are facing up to two years in medium security.

“After every single escape, after every single attempted escape, after every single time somebody even mentions escape there is a review.”

Mr Elliott said the number of escapees had reduced during the reign of the coalition government. “At the moment we have near record lows when it comes to escapees in NSW prisons,” he said.

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