Mice force western NSW jail evacuation, temporary inmate relocation
Prisoners will be evacuated from Wellington jail in western NSW because it's infested with mice that have damaged internal wiring and ceiling panels.
Up to 200 staff, and 420 male and female prisoners at Wellington Correctional Centre will be transferred to other prisons in the next 10 days while cleaning and remediation work takes place.
NSW Corrective Services Commissioner, Peter Severin, said operations at the jail 100 kilometres north of Orange would be scaled back to deal with the crisis:
"The health, safety and wellbeing of staff and inmates is our number one priority so it's important for us to act now to carry out the vital remediation work.
"We need to take this step now to ensure the site is thoroughly cleaned and infrastructure is repaired.
“It's not an easy decision but it's one that's responsible, and we're making sure nobody will be disadvantaged because of this.”
In-person visits had been suspended until the remediation work is completed.
Most staff would be redeployed to other jails in the western region, while a skeleton crew would remain at Wellington to oversee and contribute to remediation work.
The mice have caused damage to internal wiring and ceiling panels.
Assistant Commissioner Custodial Corrections, Kevin Corcoran, said:
“We want to do this overhaul once and we want it done properly, which means we'll be looking at ways to mitigate the effects of similar plagues in the future.
"Relocating staff and inmates will give us the best chance of deep-cleaning the prison, reviewing site infrastructure and tackling this challenge head-on."