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Jail boss’s admission on influx of new inmatesvideo, photos, poll

Jail boss’s admission on influx of new inmates | video, photos, poll JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak
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JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak

JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak

JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak

JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak

JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak

JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak

JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak

JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak

JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak

JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak

JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak

JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak

JAIL JAM: More than 200 people pack Cessnock Leagues Club on Sunday to voice opposition to an expansion of the jail. Picture: Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookNewcastle Heraldafter the forum.

One said the government was “begging forgiveness instead of asking permission”, while another demanded the outcry be heard and the project delayed.

Get angry or else: MPThe prison boss’s concessionthat Cessnock would need new infrastructure under a massively bigger jailis the firepower Labor needed to strengthen its demands.

Cessnock MP Clayton Barr said a new prison must come “hand in hand” with a bigger police station and a purpose-built wing in the hospital.

Mr Barr also wants new public housing and beefed-up social services for the families of prisoners, who typically come from troubled backgrounds.

“We as a community have to raise our voices on this – we need to get angry,” he said.“If we don’t, it will get forced through and we won’t get anything –except 1000 new prisoners.”

Asked after the meetingif his comments were an endorsement of the community’s demands, Mr Scholes said he was treading a fine line between public servant and politician, but eventually agreed more police and a better hospital would be a “positive outcome” for all.

“If the state government sees fit …it would certainly be a positive outcome for Cessnock,” he said.

“That’s one of the good things about the process of consultation –we ensure that all parties and their concerns are heard.”

The jobsCessnock jail general manager David Mumford agreed that public infrastructure needed to be boosted, but also said there were many positives in the expansion.

Mr Mumford pointed to the hundreds of jobs to be advertised –450 during construction and 430 new permanent positions –as a win for the community.

The meeting earlier drew a guarantee that the majority of those jobs would be advertised locally.

“There’s going to be incredible opportunities for Cessnock,” Mr Mumford told the​Herald.

But the promise ofjobs was cold comfort to residents opposed to the plan.

They said it came at the expense of livability, community well-being and even democracy.

The meeting erupted in fury when residents were told planning rules had been relaxed just weeks before the expansion was announced.

On that note, Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon weighed in and said:“It’s a disgrace”.

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