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Inmates come clean during COVID-19 lockdown

Last published on 21 Dec 2020 in Media Releases

NSW inmates invested in good hygiene during the pandemic, with a 33 per cent increase in soap, shower gel and body wash being purchased from the prison grocery system.

Corrective Services Industries Group Director Steve Thorpe said nearly 8,000 hygienic products were bought in September alone this year compared to 6,000 during the same time last year.

“There is only one reason to explain such a sharp increase, and that has to be linked to all the NSW Government messaging about the importance of good hygiene,” Mr Thorpe said.

“The ‘buy-ups’ prison grocery scheme encourages inmates to take personal responsibility by teaching them to budget, an important life skill that will assist them when they’re released.”

Corrective Services NSW provides offenders with basic hand-soap and sanitiser, but they can also purchase additional items on a ‘buy-ups’ list using their wages or money deposited in their account by families and friends.

Inmates have spent around $31 million on food and non-grocery buy-ups this year.

Assistant Commissioner Corrections Industry and Capacity Leon Taylor said revenue from the buy-ups covered the costs of the scheme.

“The system also provides prison employment opportunities with 220 inmates packing and processing buy-ups while learning skills in logistics and warehousing,” Mr Taylor said.

Inmates were this year permitted to spend a maximum of $150 per week on buy-ups – temporarily up from $100 – to assist with any extra purchases during lockdown. They can also spend $100 per month on non-food items, such as toiletries.

The top grocery purchases at NSW correctional centres from January-November 2020:
1.Diet orange drink powder – 399,230 sachets.
2.Tinned tuna in oil – 396,180 tins.
3.Singapore instant noodles – 297,781 packets.
4.Hot and spicy instant noodles – 277,426 packets.
5.Pepsi soft drink – 260,318 cans.

The top non-grocery purchases at NSW correctional centres from January-November 2020:
1.Plastic storage tub – 4,467 containers.
2.Antibacterial mouthwash – 3,389 bottles.
3.Electric kettle – 2,885 items.
4.Low-cut socks, three-pack – 2,884 packs.
5.Men’s multivitamins – 2,503 jars.

CSNSW media inquiries: 0419 258 290 – calls only, no SMS

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