Junee Correctional Centre
Junee Correctional Centre is a medium/minimum security institution for males located 450km south-west of Sydney and 40km from Wagga Wagga. It was the first privately run correctional centre in NSW.
The New South Wales Government called for expressions of interest from local councils in locating a new correctional centre in 1988. A total of 70 councils responded and State Cabinet selected Junee as the site of the new centre in May 1989.
The contract was awarded in 1991, making Junee the first correctional facility in Australia to be designed, constructed and managed by the private sector under a single contractual arrangement.
It was opened on 19 March 1993. The centre can accommodate 790 inmates, 650 in medium security and 140 in minimum security. All inmates are held in individual cells, with certain cells equipped to accommodate inmates in accordance with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
The Junee Correctional Centre takes pride in its close relationship with the community and assists in a number of activities and events in the township.
Community services provided by inmates include the maintenance of many streetscapes and grounds in town as well as the bowling club, churches, aged care facilities and community facilities such as scout halls and football clubs.
Through the ‘Wheels on Meals’ program, the centre provides meals to elderly members of the local community. Junee also supports Assistance Dogs Australia by participating in the ‘Pups in Prison’ program that sets the foundations for the dogs to progress to advance training.
On Australia Day, the centre awards six local individuals with a $1000 scholarship and sponsors the annual Australia Day 'Jailbreak' Fun Run. Scholarships are also provided to Charles Sturt University to assist students enrolled in nursing and psychology.
Junee Correctional Centre also sponsors the Junee Diesels Rugby League Football Club, which plays in the NSW Country Rugby League Group 9 competition that involves teams in the Riverina district.
In 2004, the NSW Government approved a $5 million refurbishment of the centre. These works included refurbishment of the kitchen areas, a new gatehouse, refurbishment of the intake and medical facilities and prisoners canteen, as well as a new staff amenities area.
An upgrade of the in-cell inmate communication system was completed in early 2005. This is a state-of-the-art system allowing inmates and staff to communicate easily and readily. It also has many added features such as digital recording of all system traffic. There was also an upgrade of the inmate telephone system that automatically monitors all inmates' telephones and integrates with the inmate accounting system to automatically credit/debit inmates' accounts.
The installation of a methadone iris-scanner and dispensing system to increase the accuracy and speed of identifying and dosing inmates was also undertaken in 2005. It was a local initiative, first trialled in 2002, and Junee was the first correctional centre in NSW to use the iris methadone dispensing system.
Junee Correctional Centre operates eight different industry programs that provide inmates with employment and vocational training opportunities that will help them to gain employment when they are released.
The industries program workshops employ groups of 15-20 inmates in each area and activities include metal fabrication, timber works, mechanical works and building and construction.
Junee also has a market garden that produces vegetables for the prison kitchen.
The centre has an education partnership with TAFE NSW Riverina Institute, which allows training programs to be delivered by qualified and industry experienced teaching staff.
Courses offered include commercial cooking, hospitality services, small business management, literacy and numeracy, computer studies, distance education (correspondence) programs, Aboriginal culture, automotive studies, basic engineering, visual arts, forklift operation and rural studies. In 2008 more than 100,000 student contact hours were delivered by TAFE.
Junee has introduced a Youth in Focus Scholarship program that provides up to four scholarships valued at up to $2500 each for academic excellence, sporting distinction, creative arts and youth in business.
The centre's hospital (six-beds) and medical clinic provides 24-hour medical services and inpatient care. It is staffed by registered nurses employed by GEO.
The centre has a full-time medical officer, part-time dentist and part-time psychiatrist. Services provided at the centre include:
- prescribing medication
- methadone treatment
- public health screening, including hiv and hepatitis c
- general medical visits
- dentistry and psychiatric consultations
- x-ray facilities
Junee also conducts a number of special programs including:
- harm reduction, anger management, drug and alcohol discussion groups, and a HIV/AIDS program
a dedicated Koori specialist counselor
- NAIDOC celebrations to assist indigenous inmates to maintain links with family and their community.
- KAIROS — an interdenominational Christian program that establishes strong Christian communities among the prison population and provides inmates with positive experiences of religious renewal.
- regular visits from Centrelink, Wesley Uniting (inmate employment services), Aboriginal health services and local Aboriginal elders.
Junee Correctional Centre was the first prison in Australia — and one of the first in the world — to be globally recognised for its commitment to the environment with the International Certification of Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001).
The centre is also AS/NZS ISO 9001:2000 certified and runs a HACCP accredited food service facility.