Mayor Peter Walker says the council, workers and community deserve answers about Goulburn Correctional Centre's future.
He has written to Corrective Services minister, Anoulack Chanthivong, seeking clarity on a plan to shift the remaining 125 inmates from Goulburn's two maximum security wings to modern facilities.
The Public Service Association (PSA) says it will affect 78 positions across two phases, with the first beginning in February. Corrective Services maintains it is a temporary measure until inmate numbers increase.
"We have expressed our massive concern about the potential impact to the economy, employment, families of workers and the economic viability of the prison when you're drawing that number of people out," Cr Walker said.
"We have questions about the long-term plan for the prison. If it's difficult to fix up the old part due to heritage and cost, there's plenty of room (at the site) to build more facilities."
Corrective Services has not answered The Post's or the PSA's questions on future plans for the prison. The department says the changes will ensure a "greater use of beds that are modern, not aged, and improve inmate management and service delivery by accommodating those in custody in areas that are more fit-for-purpose." It is being described as a "bed consolidation."
Cr Walker pointed out that Goulburn had received a new ambulance station and a new police station would be built this year. The city could similarly accommodate a new prison wing, he said.
"The jail has had a long history in Goulburn. I'll be asking what has brought this on when there are so many people on remand waiting to be processed in court," he said.
"How will that backlog be addressed if they're closing these facilities...We need to know the facts so we can work through what needs to be done to shore up employment."
The mayor said he was "extremely disappointed" that the council wasn't given notice of the move and its extent.
The council is concerned about the flow-on impact of any staff relocations.
"I personally think the employees deserved better," he told The Post.
Corrective Services says no jobs will be lost but staff can transfer to other prisons if they wish.