MP says Grafton Jail will be used again
CLARENCE MP Chris Gulaptis has "no doubt" Grafton Jail will reopen as more than just a remand centre.
The New South Wales prison population has fallen from a peak of 10,825 in April to 10,426 in September, mostly due to a 16% drop in prisoners on remand.
Despite the fall, Mr Gulaptis said it was only a matter of time until Grafton Jail's abandoned workforce was reinstated.
"The numbers do fluctuate, but the trend will continue to increase," he said.
"I have no doubt it will be utilised again, but I can't say when."
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research director Dr Don Weatherburn said the slight fall in prisoner numbers was a short-lived symptom of police handing out fewer bail court attendance notices in the lead-up to new bail legislation handed down in May.
"Police use of bail court attendance notices is now increasing again, so it is unlikely the sharp fall in remand numbers will continue," he said.
Mr Gulaptis went back on comments he made in March suggesting even Grafton Jail's old wing could be used to house prisoners because "these people are not in jail for a five-star holiday".
"That wing is well over 100 years ago and probably is not appropriate to house inmates under safe operating standards," he said on Tuesday.
"It would pose a threat for staff, because it would have to be overstaffed to house inmates there.
"However the majority of the jail is fairly new, around 25 years old, and can house more than 200 inmates.
"As the population of the state increases, our criminal population will also increases.
"It stands to reason it will be needed again."