The NSW prison population has skyrocketed to a whopping 13, 494- with more than 500 inmates incarcerated in just the past three months alone.
The prison system in NSW is designed to hold 11, 000 inmates.
Shadow Minister for Corrections Guy Zangari says it beggars belief that Minister Elliott would push ahead with his plan to axe 300 corrections staff across the board when the prison system is clearly in crisis.
The latest figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) paint a bleak picture of the state of corrections as we have reached the highest inmate population ever recorded in NSW while Indigenous men and women continue to be overrepresented in incarceration.
The Corrections Minister has outlined a plan to cut at least 300 staff while prisons in NSW are bursting at the seams. Just over a fortnight ago, around 900 prison staff walked off the job in protest at the proposed cuts.
Mr Zangari says now is not the time to conduct so-called ‘benchmarking’ of staff when the prison population is only expected to increase- BOCSAR forecasts it will reach almost 14, 000 by March 2019.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Corrections Minister Guy Zangari
“Corrections officers and other prison staff have the right to feel safe at work and the only way to have safety is in numbers. Cutting staff now would be utter madness.
“Minister Elliott can call it what he likes but everyone knows benchmarking is just another word for cutting staff, which is the last thing he should be doing right now.
“The prison system is clearly in crisis and the Minister continues to ignore their warnings. The fact that he thinks cutting staff would be a good idea is a clear indication he has lost control of his portfolio.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Summer Hill Jo Haylen
"What is the best way to deal with overcrowded prisons according to this Government? Cut prison staff jobs. It's a disgrace.
"One in four prisoners in New South Wales correctional facilities is Indigenous. This reveals the breadth of our failure in Indigenous justice. We have failed to assist Indigenous Australians to overcome barriers to legal advice or meaningfully address deficiencies in our bail system or to successfully bridge the gap in all areas of life that stack the deck against our Indigenous brothers and sisters. These things must be addressed."