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Current situation

In-person visits to NSW prisons will resume from Monday 18 January 2021 with COVID-Safe measures in place. Bookings are required and can be made from Friday 15 January 2021.

The safety and security of our staff, inmates, visitors and the community remain our top priority.

Key information

As at 14 January 2021:

  • There are 12,967 inmates in full-time custody
  • There has been one confirmed case of COVID-19 in within the inmate population in NSW.

There are currently 0 confirmed cases among the inmate population.

CSNSW COVID-Safe Roadmap

The Corrective Services NSW COVID-Safe Roadmap is available here PDF, 1611.16 KB. It sets out a three step process for resuming the programs and activities that are currently suspended or restricted.

Some measures will remain in place for the foreseeable future , as they remain critical to addressing the risks of infection.

Decisions to ease are:

  • risk based to ensure the health and safety of staff, offenders and the wider community. Decisions will consider the potential impacts on our operating environments
  • flexible and respond to changes in risk levels within the community
  • informed by the advice of the Ministry of Health and other experts
  • able to consider local issues and needs

Our focus is on returning to business as usual where it is safe to do so. If advice changes, we may have to reinstate restrictions quickly to ensure safety.

There are some measures that will remain. This includes the use of Personal Protective Equipment where required, increased cleaning in correctional centres and other workplaces and temperature checking of all persons entering a correctional centre and most other workplaces.

CSNSW continues to work closely with the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network (the Network) and NSW Ministry of Health to prevent and manage potential cases of COVID-19 within our correctional centres and workplaces.

The CSNSW Command Post coordinates our response.

If you have questions about our response to COVID-19 you can contact us by phone on (02) 8346 1300 between 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday.

COVID-19 Service Delivery Plan

The CSNSW Service Delivery Plan was implemented in March and provides the overarching framework for local plans at each of our workplaces including correctional centres. These plans are regularly revised and continue to be informed by expert advice from the Network and other authorities and amended as necessary.

In-person visits will re-commence from 18 January 2021 in line with local arrangements. COVID-Safe measures will be in place including:

  • Masks to be worn by staff, visitors (over the age of 12) and inmates
  • Visits are 30 minutes in duration
  • Temperature checking and screening processes are in place
  • All visits are pre-booked.

Make sure you know the rules before making a booking.

Video visits for family and friends

Corrective Services NSW has facilitated more than 145,000 video visits between inmates and their families since mid-March. Video visits have been immensely popular and we will continue to provide this service after in-person visits resume.

For more information or to find out how to book, visit the CSNSW website.

Subsidised phone calls

CSNSW continue to provide subsidised phone calls for inmates while in-person visits remain suspended. Inmates can make up to three free phone calls per week to maintain contact with their family and friends. When in-person visits recommence, these arrangements will change.

Legal and other professional visitors

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 entering our correctional centres we have restricted entry.

Legal and other professional visitors who require access to our centres, are still strongly encouraged to use Audio-visual Link facilities through JUSTConnect.

Where access is still required, a request is to be made to the correctional centre. Visitors are subject to screening questions and a body temperature check. Any person with a temperature of 37.5 degrees or above is not permitted to enter.

Inmate health and safety

Like the rest of the community, it is critical we minimise transmission risk of COVID-19. We are working closely with the Network to ensure we regularly review our approach in line with the latest medical advice.

Information for inmates

Our staff hold regular briefings with inmates to ensure new information is communicated quickly and ensure there is a clear understanding of new measures and the rationale behind them.

We continue to provide resources to support inmates.

Inmates with cold or flu like symptoms

If an inmate develops cold or flu-like symptoms, they are immediately isolated and assessed by a clinician to determine if a COVID-19 test is required. The inmate is monitored and will not return to their normal routine until we are confident they pose no COVID-19 risk.

New inmates

We are continuing to implement a 14-day quarantine period for any new inmates entering our system. Inmates are tested upon reception to the correctional facility. During the quarantine period, inmates are monitored. If they develop cold or flu-like symptoms they will be promptly assessed by a clinician to rule out COVID-19. Inmates are only placed into the general population, when cleared by the Network.

Adjustments to programs and education

Ensuring inmates have access to education, programs and services is important. CSNSW continues to run programs and education and we have adjusted service delivery to better accommodate physical distancing practices and reduce the risks for staff and inmates.

To reduce the risk to staff and inmates we restricted entry to some third-party education providers to reduce the number of people coming into our facilities.

We are continuing to reintroduce these programs at correctional centres in COVID Safe manner.

Supporting vulnerable inmates

Just like in the wider community, there are inmates who are at greater risk if they contract the virus. CSNSW is working with the Network to ensure that the needs of those more at risk are considered. The Network has identified and is closely monitoring inmates at increased risk from infection, including those with a history of chronic illness and the aged. As an added precaution, all inmates with acute respiratory symptoms or fever are being tested for COVID-19, irrespective of potential contact with a confirmed case.

Screening processes at correctional centres

All centres are screening staff and any persons prior to entry. This includes a body temperature check. Anyone with a temperature of 37.5 degrees or above is not permitted to enter. Similarly, anyone exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms must not return until they are symptom free.

Planning for confirmed cases

Isolation hubs

For any confirmed cases of COVID-19 within our system, we have established dedicated isolation hubs in existing facilities across the state.

If an inmate tests positive for COVID-19, they will be transferred to one of these hubs. These dedicated care facilities will ensure that inmate health and well-being can be appropriately managed.

Temporary hospital

A temporary hospital has been established at the Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre to manage inmates who become acutely unwell due to COVID-19.

Conditional release power

Legislative changes were made in response to COVID-19 which give the Commissioner for CSNSW authority to conditionally release some low risk and vulnerable inmates from prison, if this is necessary for the safety and effectiveness of our prisons.

To date, no inmates have been released to parole under this arrangement.

For more information read the Stronger Communities Cluster response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

If you have questions about a friend or family member in custody you can contact us by phone on 02 8346 1300 between 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday.

Note our staff are bound by the Privacy and Personal Information Act 1998 and the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 which restricts what information they can disclose.

Information for people reporting to Community Corrections

Community Corrections offices remain open and we continue to manage and provide services to people on a court or parole order.

To protect the safety of staff, offenders and the community, some changes have been made to normal services.

The following still applies:

  • If you have been released from custody you must attend your local Community Corrections Office within 24 hours.
  • You must maintain contact with your Community Corrections Officer.

If you are unwell, don’t come to a Community Corrections office. Contact your Community Corrections Officer by phone if:

  • you have any COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing), or
  • you have been told to self-isolate, or
  • you have been in close contact with any person who is required to self-isolate, or has tested positive to the coronavirus.

Find the Community Corrections office number in the NSW Government Directory.

Please monitor this page or contact your Community Corrections Office for further information.

Prison infrastructure projects

Building and commissioning work related to critical CSNSW Infrastructure will continue with health and safety modifications in place.

External contractors and third parties employed for infrastructure works remain subject to restrictions and additional screening as outlined in the ‘information for visitors to correctional centres’ section above.

You can read more about CSNSW Infrastructure works on the Better Prison webpage.

If you have questions about our response to COVID-19 you can contact us by phone on 02 8346 1300 between 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday.

Note our staff are bound by the Privacy and Personal Information Act 1998 and the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 which restricts what information they can disclose.

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Last updated: 14 Jan 2021