COVID-19 Wellington, Macquarie Correctional Centres extra measures in place

Macquarie Correctional Centre. Photo: File.
Macquarie Correctional Centre. Photo: File.

Extra measures are being taken at the Wellington and Macquarie Correctional Centres to ensure inmates and staff safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

A Corrective Services NSW said the health and safety of staff and inmates is the number one priority.

"Our correctional centres already have robust policies on infection prevention and control, which works to our advantage," a Corrective Services NSW spokesperson said.

Inmates who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 are receiving additional protection, which includes isolating those at-risk inmates from the general population where required.

The Corrective Services NSW spokesperson said they have long-standing safety practices in place to prevent and control infectious and communicable diseases in its prisons and other facilities.

"This can include staff and affected inmates wearing protective equipment gear, washing hands frequently, restricting movements of affected inmates and vaccinating staff and inmates for influenza where required," the spokesperson said.

To avoid unnecessary contact, inmates at Wellington and Macquarie still have access to exercise yards under staff supervision.

"Inmates have received information about COVID-19 including steps they can take to reduce the risk of transmission," the e Corrective Services NSW spokesperson said.

Wellington and Macquarie staff and inmates also have access to soap and water to wash their hands.

"Hand sanitisers are also being used by staff at our correctional centres including on Wellington Correctional Complex. We are working to ensure there is increased supply," the spokesperson said.

"There has also been a significant increase in cleaning at all correctional centres."

On March 16, Corrective Services NSW suspended visits to ensure the safety of staff and inmates.

"We recognise that contact is important to inmates and their families, and are working to implement ways to maintain this including increasing access to telephones and using our audio-visual link suites and computer tablets to facilitate video-calls," the Corrective Services NSW spokesperson said.

Following the National Cabinet Meeting on March 20, a joint decision was made to suspend all personal visits to adult correctional facilities across Australia over the coming weeks.

"This decision was not made lightly and responds to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation and state and federal health measures," the spokesperson said.