Nine new roles have been created at Cessnock’s Hunter Correctional Centre to work in a new unit focused on driving down reoffending rates at the rapid-build prison.
Sentenced inmates most at risk of reoffending are being targeted by a new case management model, which gives them greater access to services and programs in custody and increased support for their reintegration and release.
Corrective Services NSW Acting Commissioner Luke Grant said the new Custodial Case Management Units would employ about 150 experienced staff across NSW, creating high-quality case plans tuned to the individual needs of offenders.
"We are committed to driving down the rate of reoffending and these newly created positions form part of a clear plan to address that,” Mr Grant said.
“The improved model provides a more consistent approach to case managing offenders throughout their contact with the correctional system, particularly in cases where they cycle between community supervision and custody. Most importantly, every contact with an offender will be focused on reducing their reoffending risk.”
Joining the new unit at the 400-bed Hunter Correctional Centre is case management officer Sophie Barnett, who believes intensive and continuous case management will assist in reducing recidivism.
“I am passionate about motivating offenders to be accountable and undergo targeted interventions in custody,” Ms Barnett said.
“I have previously worked in disability and mental health and I am interested in working with complex cases and using a person-centred model that supports their needs.”
Marcel Vernier, an officer with more than 26 years’ experience in Custodial Corrections, has been selected as the functional manager responsible for case management in the centre.
Mr Vernier said he was looking forward to the challenge of rolling out the new model.
“This unit will increase monitoring and motivational interaction, which will assist offenders to take the first steps towards a better life,” he said.
Case management units will be rolled out to all correctional centres across the state, as part of a record $330 million NSW Government strategy to reduce the rate of reoffending.
Almost 20,000 inmates are expected to benefit from the new case management approach over the next three years, which will support a reduction in the state’s reoffending rate.
The NSW Government has invested $3.8 billion into increasing capacity in the state’s prisons.
The Hunter Correctional Centre opened in January, signalling the completion of the first phase of a three-stage, 1000-bed expansion at the Cessnock Correctional Complex.
Construction of a 330-bed addition to the existing maximum-security complex started in October last year.
Work on the third phase – a 240-bed minimum-security expansion – will start soon, following the appointment of a managing contractor.
Corrective Services NSW and Justice Infrastructure and Assets awarded the contract for the project to Lendlease, following a competitive tender process.
The expansion will feature 240 minimum-security beds for male inmates across five accommodation blocks; a new reception area, health clinic, gatehouse, and visits area; and additional parking for staff and visitors.
Construction is expected to be completed by late 2020.