Corrective Services

The safety and security of our staff, inmates, visitors and the community remain our top priority.

Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) continue to monitor COVID-19 risks in the community and adjust operations accordingly.

Current status

CSNSW is continuing to safely resume key services, implementing a number of recovery measures. The recent developments in relation to the Omicron variant present a number of challenges for corrections which we are actively addressing.

Correctional centres

New receptions and preventative measures in custodial environments

Quarantine

All new inmates entering our system are quarantined for a 7 day period. During this 7 day period, inmates are able to interact with other inmates in their quarantined cohort and will be housed within cell capacity in a quarantined cohort. During the quarantine period inmates are closely monitored, tested for COVID-19 when they first arrive on day 1 and then again on day 7, before being cleared to join the main population.

Essential services are still available to inmates during the quarantine period and our staff work hard to ensure these inmates have regular access to phones, Audio Visual Link (AVL), and support services.

Isolation

If an inmate develops cold or flu like symptoms, they are immediately isolated in-situ, assessed by a clinician, and tested for COVID-19 if needed. The inmate will be monitored and will not return to their normal routine until the health provider is confident they pose no COVID-19 risk.

Management of COVID positive inmates

All COVID-19 positive inmates are transferred to a designated area of the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre (MRRC) in Silverwater. Female inmates who test positive for COVID-19 are transferred and managed at Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre.

Inmates are closely monitored and receive the appropriate health care. Any inmate who requires acute care is transferred to a public hospital.

Staging process for inmates being transferred from metropolitan reception centres

CSNSW has in place a 5-day staging process for Macquarie and Hunter Correctional Centres which will ensure inmates transferred from other centres across the state are quarantined from the main population for 5-days prior to being cleared to join the main population.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Staff

All staff working in Red Zones including courts, police cells, reception areas of centres (that receive fresh custody inmates), quarantine, isolation and staging areas must wear a N95/P2 mask and face shield or safety goggles when in direct inmate contact. In addition to the N95/P2 mask and face shield or safety goggles, staff must wear disposable gloves and a long-sleeved gown when coming into direct physical contact with an inmate or in a COVID-19 isolation area.

Staff working in Orange Zone areas must wear a surgical mask at all times.

Staff working in areas without direct inmate contact including office based settings in correctional centres, community corrections offices, head office locations, administration buildings, outdoor spaces such as ovals, exercise yards and outdoor worksites have the option to wear a surgical mask under Green Zone guidelines.

Inmates

Inmates moving through a correctional centre reception room/intake, on escort and attending court are encouraged to wear a face mask. Additionally, any COVID-19 positive inmates are required to wear a mask when interacting with staff but not while they are alone in cell. However, if an inmate asks for a mask to wear in-cell they will be provided with masks. Hand sanitiser is available to all inmates in common areas.

COVID Screening processes

All correctional centres are screening staff and any contractors prior to entry. This includes a temperature check and screening questions in regard COVID-19 case locations. Anyone with a temperature of 37.5 degrees must wait 15 minutes and retest. If their second test is still above 37.5 degrees entry into the correctional centre is not permitted. Similarly, anyone exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms will not be permitted to enter.

Rapid antigen screening tests

At all correctional centre locations, with the support of JH&FMHN, CSNSW has introduced Rapid Antigen Screening Tests for staff and inmates to help detect and identify potential COVID-19 cases.

Programs and Education

Ensuring inmates have access to education, programs and services is important. Service delivery practices are adjusted based on relevant Public Health Orders and current risk levels.

For more detailed information regarding the impact of, and response to, ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on custody-based criminogenic programs view our statement of impact

Stage 3 has commenced for Works Release program, off complex work orders, social leave and all education and training outside the correctional centre.

Visits for family and friends

We understand the importance and the benefits for inmates of staying in touch with friends and family. In person visits are currently available with a limit of six visitors per inmate, including children of any age. Maximum of four adult visitors permitted, and visitors under the age of 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult. The visits will run for 60 minutes and visitors must adhere to the vaccination requirements, which is outlined in further communications for visitors. All visitors aged 5 years and above must undertake a Rapid Antigen Screening test on-site and go through a screening process prior to proceeding with the visit.

Currently, inmates must be at least triple vaccinated and wear a surgical mask for the duration of the visit. 

For operational reasons, some centres may cancel their visits on a short notice, we encourage all our visitors to contact the centre they intend to visit prior to travel. Video visits continue to be available.

Legal/professional visits

In person visits for legal and professional visitors continue and video visits are also available for legal and professional visitors. All legal and professional visitors entering NSW correctional centres in their professional capacity must be fully vaccinated and adhere to the same entry requirements as CSNSW staff. CSNSW holds regular briefings through the Legal Practitioners Consultative Group.

While video visits are available at all correctional centres, there may be times where due to the level of demand for the service or local logistical issues, service may be delayed.

Support for inmates

Health and other support services continue to operate.

Our staff hold regular briefings with inmates to ensure new information is communicated quickly and ensure there is a clear understanding of the protective measures in place and the rationale behind them.

We continue to provide resources and advice regarding hygiene, COVID-19 and vaccination information to inmates. Additionally, hand sanitiser, soap and disinfectant supplies are closely monitored and replenished as needed.

Inmates can seek advice from Services and Programs Officers, JH&FMHN or the medical provider in privately operated prisons if they have questions about COVID-19. The Customer Service Line is also available to inmates should they wish they wish to make a complaint.

Vaccinations

JH&FMHN commenced rolling out vaccinations for staff and inmates in March 2021 and the vaccination program continuesacross the state. Vaccinations for staff are mandatory, and for inmates they are voluntary, but strongly encouraged..

Supporting vulnerable inmates

Just like in the wider community, there are inmates who are at greater risk if they contract the virus. CSNSW is working with JH&FMHN / Medical providers to ensure that the needs of those more at risk are considered. JH&FMHN has identified and is closely monitoring inmates at increased risk from infection, including those with a history of chronic illness and the aged.

Community Corrections

Community Corrections offices are open, however as we deal with the impact of the Omicron variant, you are encouraged to contact your local office before physically attending. Community Corrections continue to manage and provide services to people on a community-based sentence or parole order.

To protect the safety of staff, offenders and the community, some changes to normal services may apply from time to time.

The following still applies:

  • If you have been released from custody you must follow the reporting instructions that were provided to you by Community Corrections before your release.
  • You must maintain contact with your Community Corrections Officer.

If you are unwell or if you have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting the results or have tested positive for COVID-19, don’t attend a Community Corrections office.  Contact your Community Corrections Officer by phone if:

  • you have any COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing), or
  • you have been told to self-isolate, or
  • you have been in close contact with any person who is required to self-isolate or has tested positive to the coronavirus.

Find the Community Corrections office number in the NSW Government Directory.

Please monitor this page or contact your Community Corrections Office for further information.

Recovery

Work is continuing to safely ease restrictions across our operations.

Like hospitals and aged care facilities, correctional centres continue to be high-risk settings and key safety measures will need to remain in place.

For more information

If you have questions about our response to COVID-19 you can contact us by phone on 02 8346 1300 between 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday.

Note our staff are bound by the Privacy and Personal Information Act 1998 and the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 which restricts what information they can disclose.

Last updated:

30 Aug 2022

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

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