Corrective Services NSW


Better Prisons

The gatehouse and administration building at the new Hunter Correctional Centre in Cessnock.
The gatehouse and administration building at the new Hunter Correctional Centre in Cessnock.


Better Prisons is delivering an expanded prison system that operates more efficiently, has a greater focus on inmate rehabilitation, maintains safety and security and increases accountability.

Since the initial announcement in 2016, Better Prisons has delivered new fit-for-purpose facilities, introduced benchmark operations to over 90 per cent of NSW correctional centres and, rolled out of a new prison education model. In addition, the market testing of John Morony Correctional Centre and a tender process to select the operators of Parklea Correctional Centre have been completed, as well as, the renegotiation and extension of the Junee Correctional Centre contract with more deliverables still to come.

In tandem with the Department wide Reducing Reoffending

program, Better Prisons is designed to improve standards that support rehabilitation and reduce the likelihood of inmates reoffending upon release.

The program includes:

New and upgraded prisons

Across the State, the NSW Government is investing in modern, secure, fit-for-purpose prisons.

The centrepiece of the program is a new Clarence Correctional Centre south of Grafton, which opened in June 2020. Clarence has been designed in partnership with the private sector to serve as the corrective services hub for northern NSW.

Already, we’ve delivered two new ‘rapid build’ maximum-security prisons, a new maximum-security centre for women, and three new minimum-security facilities. Upgrade work continues at our centres at Bathurst, Cessnock, Goulburn, Junee, Kempsey, Nowra, Parklea and Silverwater, as well as the Francis Greenway complex in Berkshire Park.

Prison Bed Capacity Adjustment

Corrective Services NSW will need to remove around 2,500 short-term and obsolete beds by about late-2021. These changes are taking place as safe new fit-for-purpose infrastructure, in new and upgraded prisons, become operational.

The program will involve:

  • Retiring Berrima Correctional Centre and Illawarra Reintegration Centre - completed 2020
  • Retiring Brewarrina and Ivanhoe correctional centres (completed mid-2020); and Grafton (August 2020)
  • Repurposing Emu Plains Correctional Centre to become a dedicated Mothers and Children’s and work-readiness facility from late-2020
  • Repurposing Kariong Correctional Centre to become an Intake and Transit Centre from late-2020
  • Removing around 1,800 short-term double-up and triple-up beds across the system to reduce overcrowding in prisons and improve staff safety. 

Corrective Services NSW is working with staff and their families to ensure they are supported. We are also consulting local councils and stakeholders on a range of matters including the future use of the retired prisons.

Should you require further information, please email your inquiries to


Benchmarking introduces a new staffing structure in addition to a performance monitoring and reporting framework for Correctional Centres in NSW. This will improve the accountability of prisons so the community and Government can be assured prisons deliver good value for money. The roll out of benchmarking is being staged across the state, it is anticipated that all correctional centres will be operating under benchmark arrangements by mid-2019. 

Market Testing

In August 2016 CSNSW made a formal request for tender for the operation of John Morony Correctional Centre which resulted in three private bidders tendering and competing against the CSNSNW in-house bid team.

On 25 May 2017, Corrective Services NSW was selected as the preferred operator of John Morony Correctional Centre. The competitive tender process was designed to lift standards, reduce reoffending and improve efficiency.

John Morony Correctional Centre has been operating under the new model since early 2018.  

Education and Vocational Training for Inmates

A key part of Better Prisons is a significant change to the way education and vocational training programs are delivered to inmates, and the way inmates’ education and training needs are assessed.

The new model is focused on enabling inmates to become employable, to prepare them for prison work and to work in the community upon release, giving them stability and reducing the likelihood of reoffending.

Under the new model, education and training is delivered by two external education service providers, TAFE and BSI Learning across the NSW public prison system. This model allows for greater flexibility and responsive to inmates’ needs. The provider is accountable for the number of enrolments and completions it achieves in line with the NSW Government targets for literacy and numeracy programs and vocational training.

CSNSW continues to run Intensive Learning Centres at four correctional centres to support inmates with highest level of basic education needs. 

Inmates completing a literacy and numeracy qualification increased by 43 per cent, from 322 to 459 between 2015/16 and 2017/18, while those participating in vocational training programs leapt from 2,978 to 5,269 – by 77 per cent – in the same period.

Meanwhile 98 per cent of inmates sentenced to six months or more, or about 10,200 offenders, completed core skills assessment to determine their immediate education needs.

Further reading

Last updated:

25 Nov 2020

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