Staff at the Goulburn Correctional Centre have been hard at work to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission to inmates and the community.
A Corrective Services NSW spokeswoman said the safety of all staff and inmates was the number one priority, and would remain at the forefront of decision-making processes while COVID-19 continued to pose a risk.
There is currently one confirmed case of COVID-19 in NSW. An inmate at Parklea jail tested positive last week and had been in isolation since the time of his arrest.
The spokeswoman said Corrective Services NSW had long-standing safety practices in place to prevent and control infectious and communicable diseases.
"We established a Central Command Post to streamline and coordinate our efforts in response to COVID-19. The post operates seven days a week and includes representatives from all corrections branches as well as key areas, such as Human Resources and IT," she said.
"We are following the expert advice from NSW Health and are working closely with Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network."
Coronavirus precautions include:
- All staff and inmates are screened on entry to a prison or other CSNSW facility.
- Inmates at increased risk from infection including those with a history of respiratory illness are being monitored.
- All inmates who show possible symptoms of the virus are isolated, provided with a surgical mask and tested promptly.
- All fresh custodies are quarantined for a period of 14 days.
- Prison transfers have been limited and include urgent medical escorts and transporting inmates from court cells to prisons.
- All forms of external leave have been suspended, except under special circumstances with the approval of the commissioner, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 being introduced into the custodial environment.
- Personal protective equipment such as surgical masks and latex gloves as well as hand soap and hand sanitiser is available at all prisons and court cells.
- There has been increased cleaning of facilities.
The spokeswoman said recent changes to legislation allowed the Corrective Services NSW Commissioner to conditionally release some low risk and vulnerable inmates to parole.
"This new measure will only be used if deemed absolutely necessary for the safety and effectiveness of our prisons in response to COVID-19," she said.
"There are no immediate plans to release anyone using this emergency measure, but if it does become necessary it will be done on a case by case basis and community safety will always be our number one priority.
"Certain categories of inmates, including murderers, terrorists, sex offenders, and any other serious offenders, will not be considered under this legislation."
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