FROM October 5, Berrima Gaol will be back in operation.
The Gaol was officially recommissioned on September 27 and will house 75 C classification minimum security inmates on a permanent basis.
Minister for Corrections David Elliott was presented with the keys which he then handed over to Berrima General Manager Mick Reid at the recommissioning ceremony.
It took close to four months to complete work in order for the prison to be ready to reopen. Prisoners from the South Coast were brought to Berrima to help prepare the facility.
The reopening of the prison will also create 45 new jobs in the Southern Highlands.
Mr Elliot said the facility would help those incarcerated rehabilitate themselves.
“It’s a positive thing to see and we’ve seen rehabilitation undertaken very successfully in this facility,” he said.
“This is a facility that will keep our community safer and that can only be a good thing.”
Member for Goulburn Pru Goward said the reopening of the Berrima facility would bring many economic benefits to the town and the Southern Highlands region.
“This is a place where prisoners can learn the skills and temperament to live crime free in the community,” she said.
“Inmates will be able to gain vocational qualifications in horticulture, maintenance trades, warehousing and logistics making them job ready and better prepared to make a positive contribution to the community.”
Some of the inmates will work on community projects for the Wingecarribee Shire Council.
Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin said the chance to work in the community would enable the inmates to participate in ‘meaningful activities’.
“This centre is a space where people come to do their time and also engage in meaningful activities that will hopefully make a difference in their life going forward,” he said.
“We will continue to work closely with the local community and where possible, contribute to life in Berrima.”
Berrima Gaol was closed in late 2011 due to a decline in prison numbers and the site has been maintained by Correctional Services NSW (CSNSW) and the local community.