John Laing as a part of the NorthernPathways consortium, along with operator Serco, and partners John Holland and Macquarie Capital, has financed, designed and developed the Clarence Correctional Centre on behalf of the New South Wales Government to address a critical shortfall of correctional beds and facilities in the State.

The 1,700-bed correctional facility is the largest in Australia, it was opened on 25 June 2020 and commenced to full operations in July 2020. The project itself will inject over $560 million into the local economy with over 1,200 jobs created during construction and up to 600 permanent jobs available during operations.

The Clarence Correctional Centre is one of the first prisons to be designed and operated in accordance with the New South Wales State Government’s Better Prisons programme. Announced in 2016, Better Prisons is designed to improve performance, reduce reoffending, and increase efficiency. A core goal of the programme is to deliver a correctional system that focuses on rehabilitation as a measurement of success. From the outset the project was designed to support the inmates with the opportunity to rehabilitate, learn new skills, achieve qualifications and build relationships and behaviours that will allow them to give back to society at the end of their sentence.

The design of the correctional centre has been a shift away from traditional models with an innovative campus style layout with advanced resources to support the vocational training programmes. Since opening, three new inmate textile industries have been established, specific aboriginal programmes have been developed and several presentations on mental health and initiatives implemented to support inmates.

The project has taken into account a number of the concerns from surrounding communities and through a Community Consultative Committee has been able to discuss concerns on the impact of the facility, for example, on local food procurement.

Throughout the development stages the project was subject to regular environmental audits to manage its impact, which concluded there were no significant environmental impacts. In addition, resource efficiency was monitored, the project used precast concrete panels to improve efficiency, timeliness and the volume of materials used in construction.