Wellington prison inmates return after mouse plague repairs done

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Wellington Correctional Centre officially reopened on Friday, following the completion of a $38 million refurbishment to repair damages from a mouse plague which devastated the Central West last year.

Minister for Corrections Geoff Lee said the project aimed to enhance existing facilities, while future-proofing the centre against future plagues.

“I’m thrilled to see this centre reopening at an even higher standard, which demonstrates our staff’s resilience and Corrective Services NSW’s commitment to community by working with local businesses,” Minister Lee said.

“We repaired and reinforced the complex perimeter to better protect ourselves against future plagues and improved infrastructure to support our goal of reducing reoffending.”

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In June 2021, up to 200 staff and 420 inmates were successfully relocated to other prisons after mice chewed through internal wiring and destroyed ceilings, air conditioning and wall panels.

Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Kevin Corcoran PSM said CSNSW created opportunities to invest in staff as a result of the devastating plague.

“Wellington staff played a critical role during the project by remaining on-site to assist, completing additional training or relocating to support other centres during the crisis,” Mr Corcoran said.

Eleven areas were targeted as a priority for rebuild – including the gate and control room, which houses the main security system and administration area.

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Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said the involvement of local trades continued CSNSW’s strong history of supporting the region.

“The prison is at the heart of our community as a proud employer in the region, so hiring locally was a fantastic way to give back and inject vital funds into our area,” Mr Saunders said.

Offenders will return in stages over a five-week period to ensure security, from minimum to maximum security inmates.