A rare look behind the walls of Cessnock Correctional Centre

VISITORS: The building where visits will take place.
VISITORS: The building where visits will take place.
ENTRY: Centre general manager David Mumford in a walkway to one of the accommodation units.

ENTRY: Centre general manager David Mumford in a walkway to one of the accommodation units.

INSIDE: A single cell interior.

INSIDE: A single cell interior.

ACCOMMODATION: Inside one of the accommodation units where there are 25 in the pod.

ACCOMMODATION: Inside one of the accommodation units where there are 25 in the pod.

The new 250 bed facility at Cessnock Correctional Centre is days away from opening its gates for a public inspection before inmates move in.

It is a rare opportunity for the community to get to see behind the walls of a prison, and once inmates are received, will not occur again. Anyone who has visited the old Maitland Gaol will notice a significant difference between the old and the new”

Cessnock Correctional Complex when fully occupied will house and manage in excess of 750 inmates.

During the last two years, more than 1500 people have injected over 500,000 hours into the mammoth construction by John Holland under the management of NSW Public Works.

Senior correctional staff, including David Mumford, Simon Raper and Adrian Clarke, have also been actively involved in its design and development.

More than 10,000 cubic metres of concrete, enough to fill four Olympic-sized pools, has been poured to expand Cessnock Correctional Centre.

Electric cabling stretching from Sydney to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and turf, covering five football fields, have also been used.

The expansion, which also used 6000 square metres of asphalt and more than 1500 fence panels, is currently being fitted out, furnished and commissioned.

More than 37,000 native plants will provide some greenery to the new space.

General Manager, David Mumford, said the electronics, such as CCTV, staff duress alarms, inmate cell call systems and fence wires, are about to be tested.

“We need to ensure everything’s online, working properly and ready to go before the inmates step inside,” Mr. Mumford said.

“It’s a very modern, striking building compared to the existing 40-year old facility next door. It blends well with the main gaol’s new industrial services complex built by corrections staff and up to 15 inmates.”

Mr. Mumford has kept his staff across the expansions by regularly inviting groups to tour the construction site. “We heard very positive feedback from a recent group, who were impressed by the layout, structure and modern look of the centre,” Mr. Mumford said.

“We’ve kept the team updated about the construction at staff meetings and the staff walk-throughs have boosted morale and helped maintain some ownership of the project.”

Corrective Services NSW will be hosting a community open day for the public to inspect the expansion on Saturday and Sunday between 9am and 3pm in what will be a rare opportunity to see beyond the walls of a correctional centre.