Cessnock prison opened its maximum security section, which is built to house up to 250 inmates, in February 2013.
The addition of the new section makes Cessnock prison the largest NSW correctional complex outside Sydney, with a total capacity of 800 inmates.
As a maximum security prisoner in Cessnock, there are a number of rules that inmates have to abide by, and this can include restrictions around visitation.
Why has my loved one been classified as maximum security?
When new inmates are first taken into custody, they are screened and classified by a Case Management Team according to a number of different factors.
Whether a prisoner is classified as minimum or maximum security depends on:
- The seriousness of their offence.
- The length of their sentence.
- The availability there is at different correctional centres.
- If they have a previous history of escaping from prison, or it seems likely they will attempt escape.
- What if any support needs they may have.
Being classified as maximum security means that inmates will always be within secure physical barriers, and undergo closer monitoring than minimum security inmates.
If an inmate has been classified as maximum security initially, they may be able to eventually work their way down to a lower level of security.
This can take time depending on the severity of the original offence, and their conduct while they are in custody.
Classifications are reviewed each year by a case management team, and depending on behaviour and other factors, inmates can be re-classified.
Can I visit a maximum security inmate?
You can. Maximum security inmates have more restricted visiting times and shorter visits than minimum security inmates, however.
If you have a friend or family member who is in a maximum security facility, it is important to make yourself familiar with the rules surrounding visitation.
If you don’t abide by these rules, your access to your loved one could be restricted.
Here are a few of the rules surrounding visitation for maximum security prisoners in Cessnock and other maximum security facilities around NSW.
- Always call and check before visiting a prisoner, as it is possible that they may have been transferred to another facility.
- You will need to book your visit to a maximum security inmate at Cessnock. Visits can be booked in one-hour blocks from 8.30am to 2.30pm.
- Do not bring any items in to the jail if you are visiting a maximum security inmate.
- You can bring up to $20 in coins for the vending machines during your visit.
Cessnock correctional complex is a male-only facility. Female inmates are classified differently to male inmates, and have four different classification levels.
Visiting restrictions for male maximum security inmates are similar to those for female inmates classified at level four, which is the highest level of supervision.
If you have a friend or family member serving a prison sentence in Cessnock, and you believe they would benefit from legal assistance, it is also possible to arrange for a criminal defence solicitor or barrister to visit them.
Maximum security prisoners are allowed to have legal visits, and can get access to legal advice that may help them with any appeals or to deal with any legal issues they are having while in custody.