More than 100 prisoners could be coming to Grafton
GRAFTON jail could be housing an additional 100 inmates to help cope with overcrowding in the NSW prison system.
A reliable source has told The Daily Examiner the prisoners - 80 men and 20 women - could be transferred "ASAP" with Grafton's aging One Wing used to house them.
In a leaked email sent to the state's prison officers last month NSW Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin revealed some of the closed or downsized infrastructure would be used to ease overcrowding in the state's jails.
"Many will ask what are we going to do until these beds will be available in 2018 and 2019 respectively," Mr Severin's email on June 18 read.
"The answer is that we will continue to implement
short-term solutions (double-ups and use of spare capacity - including the existing Grafton Centre) augmented by medium-term capacity increases (modular and other rapid increase options)".
The Daily Examiner's source said the need for maximum and medium security beds meant the aging One Wing could be used to house up to 80 more prisoners.
He said there would be a need for up to 20 more staff.
"I've heard staff who previously worked at Grafton and who were promised they could return here if the opportunity arises, have received letters," the source said.
The Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis has called for the reinstatement of Grafton jail but has not heard of plans to boost the prison population.
But he said he would not be surprised if there was something in it.
"It wouldn't surprise me, the system is at capacity now and inmate numbers are increasing," he said.
"Something has to be done and Grafton has the capacity to take some of those numbers.
"At the rate we've been locking them up, we need to have places to put them."
Mr Gulaptis was not convinced that One Wing would be used to house the new prisoners.
"If they were going to be using that wing they would have to be doing a fair bit to it to get it ready," he said.
"As far as I can see, there's not been too much done. It's a lot like the prison at Alcatraz, it's that old and out of date."
Grafton has been promised a new jail by 2019, which is most likely to be privately operated.
The proposed jail will provide beds for about 600 prisoners.
The NSW Government set aside $20 million in the State Budget for planning.