A decision to close six out of eight Community Offender Support Program (COSP) centres, including one at Unanderra, is “a disgrace” according to Wollongong MP Noreen Hay.
The Unanderra COSP centre, which provides emergency housing for parolees, is set to be sold in coming weeks, affecting its 13 staff and dozens of offenders who rely on the accommodation. The centre is one of several across the state to be closed after a Corrective Services NSW review found many “costly and inefficient”.
Ms Hay said the support centre at Unanderra had helped many people to rebuild their lives.
“It is not unusual that some of these offenders are left unsupported by family and friends after serving their time and are therefore at a high risk of reoffending again,” Ms Hay said.
“The aim of these support centres is not only to deter offenders from repeating their wrongs by monitoring their behaviour but serves as a protective function by preventing further crime.”
Ms Hay said it was also disappointing 13 staff would lose their jobs, with new jobs offered at locations that would involve more than five hours of travel each day.
Last week, Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said efforts would be made to find the staff new positions within the department.
Corrective Services NSW would replace the centres through a tender process for community sector accommodation and support services, opening later this year.
The new approach provided stable, longer-term accommodation straight away with support services added once the individual was housed, Mr Severin said.