Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Short-term contract has NSW prisons boss on outer

Mark Tobin | ABC Online | 18 October 2011

The New South Wales prison chief's days appear to be numbered, after he was only offered a short-term contract extension.

Ron Woodham has been Corrective Services Commissioner since 2002 and his current contract expires this month, but the Attorney-General has only given him a six-month extension.

His reign has often been controversial.

Mr Woodham was heavily criticised by the prison guard's union for attempting to privatise jails and change longstanding work practices, with members calling for his sacking at a 2009 rally.

Attorney-General Greg Smith has issued a statement to the ABC saying Mr Woodham's contract has been extended until the end of April next year.

Mr Smith hinted at a shake-up for the state's prison system last week, saying he wanted to change the culture.

"I'm looking at ways of trying to generate more respect and decency towards prisoners," Mr Smith said.

Mr Woodham has issued a statement confirming he has accepted the extension.

"My priority at this stage is managing the downsizing of the organisation and the relocation of 600 staff across the state as a result of the three jail closures announced in September," he said.

The closures of the prisons at Parramatta, Berrima and Kirkconnell were confirmed in Treasurer Mike Baird's first state budget.

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