The Junee Correctional Centre is well on the way to completion, and will include four new cell blocks, a playing field, a bakery and a laundry.
Trucked in from Queensland and Sydney, the 360 prefabricated cell blocks are now in place.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke was joined by the project manager Michael Martin, and jail general manager Scott Brideoake in touring the facility on Monday.
The expansion is now estimated to be 60 per cent complete, to be opened midway through next year.
“The footprint of the centre will be roughly double the current size,” said Mr Brideoake.
Once operational, inmates will be given the opportunity to work in the bakery and laundry.
“That will bring benefits in helping the inmates find meaningful employment,” said Mr Brideoake.
“They can get TAFE certificates out of it, they’ll be able to get some meaningful certificates.”
Reacting to last week’s Greenough prison breakout in Western Australia, Mr Brideoake said he was confident the “state of the art” upgrades to surveillance and monitoring systems would be able to withstand any attempt.
“We’ll be looking forward to operating it and a making sure we’ve got all the safety and security,” he said.
With demands for correctional services skyrocketing across the country, Mr Brideoake expects the Junee centre’s additional 480 beds “will fill reasonably quickly.”
By the time the newly furbished section is opened, it is estimated more than a thousand builders and contractors will have worked on it.
Ms Cooke described that as the big success of the project.
“Overwhelmingly, locally based people and companies are being used, which is great news for this economy,” she said.
“That’s one of the positive things to come out of the construction phase.”
Another hundred correctional and administration staff are expected to join the facility upon its opening, with another round of recruitment to begin this week.
“They’ll be local, we’re hoping, living either in Junee or Coolamon or Wagga, in this region which is fantastic to bring jobs to this part of the world,” Ms Cooke said.
“The community is very supportive of this jail.
“The community understands overwhelmingly the benefit that this jail brings to the community, whether it’s through community service hours, whether it’s through the wages.
“The injection into the economy alone, once this is completed is around about five million dollars a year, and that is fantastic for a country town the size of Junee.”