The Silverwater Correctional Complex in Sydney’s west is generally the first place newly sentenced offenders, and those on remand, will be sent.
From the Silverwater Gaol Remand Centre, offenders are classified and sent to the appropriate correctional facility, or if they are on remand, they may await their trial at the remand centre.
An offender who is facing charges that could result in a prison sentence, or an offender who has been remanded in custody until trial, is required to go through an assessment process at Silverwater so that the correct classification can be decided.
Why are offenders assessed at Silverwater?
The assessment process is designed to be in-depth, and allows Corrective Services to match a specific offender and their needs to the right facility for the duration of their sentence.
Offenders and those on remand are classified as to their perceived level of risk, both to other inmates and prison staff and to themselves, along with the likelihood that they will reoffend on release.
They are also evaluated for any health or psychological issues that could impact their emotional or physical well being during their time in custody.
When will they be assessed?
The assessment and screening process generally takes place as soon as inmates arrive at Silverwater, depending on the availability of staff.
A full medical examination will take place along with psychological evaluation and screening conducted by staff of Justice Health.
What will inmates be assessed for?
Inmates are assessed for:
- Any alcohol or drug issues, which may require rehabilitation or detoxification.
- Any psychological or mental health problems such as mental illness, depression or anxiety.
- The likelihood that they will self-harm, or act violently towards other inmates and prison staff.
- Any health issues they have that will require special care, medication or other treatment while in gaol.
What happens after assessment?
Once they have completed their assessment and have been classified, new inmates can be sent to the appropriate facility, or the section of Silverwater that can best meet their needs.
Screening also allows corrective services staff to identify any educational or therapeutic programs that may be beneficial to new inmates.
Some of the programs available include drug and alcohol rehabilitation, violent offender programs, and programs aimed at helping inmates develop life skills that may aid them on release, and reduce the chances of them reoffending.
Participating in some of these programs may also help reduce how much of their sentence they actually serve in prison.
Offenders who are on remand awaiting trial may also be able to access drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs or counselling services that can help them receive a less harsh penalty if they are found guilty.
There are a number of different intervention programs aimed at offenders who plead guilty, and have a demonstrable drug or alcohol problem.
The assessment process at Silverwater Gaol Remand Centre may seem lengthy, but it is designed to help Corrective Services meet the needs of inmates and ensure they are as healthy as possible during their time in prison.
If you have a loved one who is on remand, or you are concerned that you may be sentenced to goal as a result of criminal charges you are facing, speak to an experienced criminal lawyer about your concerns, and about any programs that may assist with rehabilitation or receiving a lesser sentence.