TOMAGO’s periodic detention centre will be shut and sold after the state government decided to outsource prisoner accommodation services, resulting in staff being offered redundancies or other positions within Corrective Services NSW.
Periodic detention, also known as weekend detention, was scrapped four years ago, but the centre on Tomago Road was used as a Community Offender Support Program centre providing short-term accommodation and other services to recently released prisoners.
Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin recently announced the department would close most of the state’s eight centres providing the program and would outsource the service to non-government providers.
The Tomago centre had already stopped accepting parolees and would be closed in September or October.
It would eventually be sold, Mr Severin said.
The department would soon call for tenders from non-government organisations to provide services such as finding accommodation, jobs and education for parolees.
A review of the centres showed they were inefficient and expensive to run at a cost of $357 per inmate a day as opposed to $194 a day for a minimum security prisoner, Mr Severin said.
Tomago in particular, was poorly located due to its lack of public transport and distance to major centres and services.
About 100 parolees occupied the state’s centres on any given day at an average occupancy rate of 44per cent. As a detention centre, Tomago could house 100 men and 10 women but as a program centre, it only provided 44 beds.
Mr Severin said Tomago staff would be invited to apply for a number of vacancies within Corrective Services.
“Voluntary redundancy packages will also be offered and this has generated some interest from Tomago staff,’’ Mr Severin said.
Tomago periodic detention centre was opened in the 1970s to house prisoners serving short sentences. Most served their sentences on weekends allowing them to work and live with their families during the week.
Periodic detention was scrapped in 2009 and replaced with intensive corrections orders, which include rehabilitation programs and community service.