A new 400-bed prison set to open in the NSW Hunter region to help ease pressure on the state's overcrowded corrections system has been described by the state's opposition as a "band-aid solution".
The Hunter Correctional Centre, opening in Cessnock on Tuesday, will provide campus-style dormitory facilities for both minimum and maximum security, and boasting state-of-the-art security and surveillance systems.
It was ordered as a rapid-build prison as part of the state government’s $3.8 billion prison infrastructure program.
But the state opposition says the “pop-up” prisons, including the one that opened in Wellington last year, are plagued with problems, including security issues.
“Band-aid solutions won’t work. Minister Elliott has lost control of the corrections portfolio, leaving him scrambling to fix all the problems that have happened under his leadership,” opposition corrections spokesman Guy Zangari said.
According to NSW Corrections, cubicles will have an interactive TV for inmates to “take greater control of their own administration”.
There will be up to 15 hours of structured activity each day, the department’s website says.
The Public Service Association last year referred to the state’s prison system as being “grossly overcrowded” and said it was housing 13,000 inmates despite being designed to accommodate 11,000.
The current population is around 13,200, a NSW Corrections spokeswoman said.
Corrections Minister David Elliot will open the jail on Tuesday morning.