A facility that accommodates some of NSW's worst criminals now has even greater security in place.
Area One in Goulburn's High Risk Management Correctional Centre (HRMCC), better know as the Supermax Prison, has been refurbished in a multi-million upgrade.
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The site features a state-of-the-art, fully integrated security management system that now expands across the entire prison precinct and perimeter with new equipment and a new control room.
The investment includes upgrades to electronic security, including CCTV, telephone and audio monitoring, an X-ray machine and a walk-through metal detector.
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The new body scan machine can detect any foreign object and has greatly reduced the need for strip searches.
There is also a new secure-visits and legal visits area and a separate audio-visual link area. Before the refurbishment there were only two non-contact rooms, there are now four.
All conversations are monitored live, and conversations must be conducted in English.
The yards have also undergone a refurbishment, with three prison yards turned into eight smaller yards.
The yards have mesh coverings to stop drones and contraband from making their way inside. Inmates who wish to use the yard have access to a chin-up bar, a dip bar and a toilet. Only two inmates are allowed in the yard at once for a period of two and half hours.
Cells in Area One include phone jamming devices, a safety hatch to deliver food, a bed, a television, toilet, shower and access to an outdoor area.
There are three staff members to one inmate at all times.
The HRMCC was officially opened by Minister for Counter Terrorism and Corrections Anthony Roberts on Monday, November 22, 2021.
Mr Roberts said the upgrade was part of a wider $47 million NSW Government investment in countering terrorism and violent extremism, with more than $12 million spent on the refurbishment alone.
"Increasing the operational capacity of Supermax from 45 to 75 beds allows Corrective Services NSW to separate convicted terrorists from other inmates, thereby reducing the risk of radicalisation within the prison system," Mr Roberts said.
"The NSW Government's investment also included the establishment of a dedicated Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit responsible for the identification, assessment, and monitoring of extremist and national-security-interest offenders in prison.
"The project was delivered in budget and in excellent time despite having to relocate inmates between the two areas at the different stages of construction."
Mr Roberts said that most of the building work was undertaken by minimum-security inmates housed at the Goulburn Correctional Centre.
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"Those inmates were engaged in more than 20,000 hours of work. The new walls, ceilings, furniture, concrete, plumbing was undertaken by an inmate workforce," he said.
Mr Roberts said the facility was equipped to manage the most notorious inmates.
"The HRMCC is a world-class facility and is extremely secure," he said.
"We live in dangerous times and changing times.
"None of us like the fact that we need a place like this but the fact is, that we do. We can all sleep a little better knowing we have the best facility housing the most dangerous elements of the community."
Goulburn Correction Services Governor Wayne Taylor said it was an exciting and significant day for Goulburn Correctional Complex.
"I am pleased to warmly welcome everyone to the reopening of Area One at the High Risk Management Correctional Centre," he said.
"The facilities in Area One are exceptional and it has significantly enhanced the facility in securely housing and managing the state's most high-risk inmates."
"The upgraded centre has enhanced physical security, electronic security systems and CCTV ensuring that the staff are working in a very safe and highly secure environment.
I"n the 20 years since the HRMCC has opened, the way we manage high-risk offenders has changed significantly.
"In the upgrade, Area One provides the contemporary highly secure prison infrastructure essential for us to safely manage the current cohort of high-risk inmates."
Mr Taylor said areas one and two in the HRMCC would enable corrective services to deliver programs and education to support offenders.
"As the governor, it has been very rewarding to see Area One come alive. I would like to thank the staff at GCC and the HRMCC for the hard work they do."
Corrective Services NSW Acting Commissioner Kevin Corcoran said the refurbishment of Supermax followed the opening in Goulburn in 2019 of High Risk Management Correctional Centre Area two.
"The two units provide greater options to manage terrorists safely, securely and efficiently, with Area Two to eventually operate as a step-down facility for inmates demonstrating a commitment to disengage from radical behaviour," Mr Corcoran said.
"Area two will also provide more therapeutic intervention and access to programs, to aid their rehabilitation."
Mr Corcoran also added he was extremely proud of the way Corrective Services NSW had managed the COVID-19 pandemic in the last 18 months.
"Here at Goulburn, we've had no cases of COVID-19 inside the centre and we plan to keep it that way," he said.
Mr Corcoran said the HRMCC has been of the most secure facilities in the last 20 years.
"The original facility was designed to house a very different cohort of offenders than what we have here today," he said.
"The purpose of the HRMCC is first and foremost security, but prison isn't just about locking people up and making sure they don't escape.
"While that's a very important function, there's another function that is a benefit to the long term security of the community.
"Most inmates will one day return to the community and Corrective Services, we take it very seriously our responsibility to prepare all offenders from different backgrounds to one day be successfully reintegrated into society."
Member for Goulburn, Wendy Tuckerman said it was a great pleasure to the significant development completed.
"This is a great benefit to my community and my electorate," she said.
"We've seen more than 21 local contractors employed on the site and local suppliers.
"It's absolutely fantastic, with the years that we have had, to see our economy boosted in this way.
"It's a welcome result for Goulburn."
Journalist at the Southern Highland News.
Journalist at the Southern Highland News.
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