Long Bay Correctional Centre

Her Majesty's Australian Prison Long Bay

A watchtower on the correctional centre north-western perimeter wall
Location Malabar, New South Wales
Coordinates 33°58′10″S 151°14′45″W / 33.96944°S 151.24583°W / -33.96944; -151.24583Coordinates: 33°58′10″S 151°14′45″W / 33.96944°S 151.24583°W / -33.96944; -151.24583
Status Operational
Security class Maximum, minimum (males and females)

As of 2016, 1,200 inmates:[1]

  • 130 LBH (hospital);
  • xxx MSPC (special programs);
  • 65 SPC (protection unit)
  • August 1909[2]
    (State Reformatory for Women)
  • 1 June 1914[3]
    (State Penitentiary for Men)
Managed by Corrective Services NSW
Street address Anzac Parade
City Malabar
State New South Wales
Postal code 2035
Country Australia

The Long Bay Correctional Complex, officially known as Her Majesty's Australian Prison Long Bay, and commonly called just Long Bay for short, is an Australian maximum and minimum security prison for males and females, is located at Malabar, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The complex is located approximately 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) south of the Sydney CBD and is contained with a 32-hectare (79-acre) site. The facility is operated by Corrective Services NSW, a department administered by the Government of New South Wales.

The Complex accepts sentenced and unsentenced felons under New South Wales and/or Commonwealth legislation and comprises three separate facilities including the Long Bay Hospital (a maximum security institution for medical and psychiatric cases); the Metropolitan Special Programs Centre (a maximum/minimum security institution); and the Special Purpose Centre (a maximum security institution for inmates requiring special protection).

On 6 May 2016 the NSW Government announced that the Long Bay Correctional Complex will close when a new correctional facility opens, expected to be built in Wollondilly Shire.[4][1][5]


Long Bay Gaol c. 1900

Long Bay was opened due to the imminent closure of Darlinghurst Gaol. The State Reformatory for Women was opened in 1909[2] and the State Penitentiary for Men was opened beside it in 1914.[3] Gallows were in operation at the Complex from 1917 to 1939.[2] The reformatory became part of the prison in the late 1950s, known as the Long Bay Penitentiary. After the Silverwater Women's Correctional Centre (formerly known as Mulawa) was opened in 1970, the women's prison was vacated and converted into a medium security prison for men.[3]

A report on prison reform released in 1946 found overcrowding at Long Bay. It recommended that sewerage replace pan systems in major gaols and that prisoners should have two more hours each day out of their cells.[6]

A significant public health case arose in July 1990 when a mentally ill, HIV-positive prisoner was being escorted in the exercise yard. The prisoner took a syringe filled with his blood and stabbed a probationary prisoner officer.[7] The prison officer was diagnosed with the virus five weeks later and died in 1997, aged 28.[8]

In the late 1990s the facility was redeveloped to offer special treatment units which offer programs for sex offenders; those with intellectual disabilities; drug and alcohol abuse; or the use of violence.[3]

Katingal facility

In 1975 a prominent supermax prison block was completed, known as Katingal. It was designed to house terrorists as well as problematic prisoners which had been identified as difficult offenders within the NSW prison system, replacing the intractable section at Grafton Gaol. It was dubbed as an ‘electronic zoo' by inmates due to its electronically controlled confinement with artificial lights and air, depriving inmates from almost all contact from the outside world.[3] The facility with its 40 prison cells had electronically operated doors, accompanied by several surveillance cameras, which were to supplement the existent security facilities within the unit. Although the unit did not have windows, it was serviced by a fully integrated air-conditioning system which circulated fresh air throughout. Additionally, inmates were permitted to engage in physical exercise in two purpose-built yards situated at each end of the unit. Several 'blind spots' that were not corrected during the initial design and construction of the facility led to escapes by inmates, including Russell 'Mad Dog' Cox, an armed robber and hostage-taker, who escaped after cutting through a bar on the roof of one of the exercise yards.

The facility became the centre of mainly critical media attention, and was heavily criticised by Justice John Nagle during proceedings of the Nagle Royal Commission (19761978) who recommended its immediate closure. The recommendation that Katingal be closed was accepted, but only after a campaign lasting months.[9]

On 17 March 1989 Michael Yabsley, Minister for Corrective Services, announced that Katingal would be reopened as a correctional facility. When it was realised that the redevelopment of the site would cost double the A$8 million allocated, plans were put on hold until a feasibility study was completed on the entire Long Bay prison complex. Demolition of Katingal began in March 2006.[3]

Current divisions

Long Bay Correctional Centre

As of May 2016 it was reported that the prison held approximately 1,200 prisoners,[1] with capacity estimated as 1,000,[10] resulting in overcrowding of the correctional centre.

Long Bay Hospital

The new Long Bay Hospital is a maximum security facility which holds a total of 120 inmate patients in four wards. It is jointly administered by the Department of Corrective Services and Justice Health (NSW Department of Health). The hospital became operational in July 2008, replacing the old Long Bay Hospital which was completely demolished in October 2008. The site of the old Long Bay Hospital is now the Long Bay Forensic Hospital, which took its first patients in late November 2008.

The old hospital was prominent in the news in January 2006 when rapist and armed robber Robert Cole, who was serving a 14-year sentence, lost 14 kilograms (31 lb) and slipped through the bars of his 'A' ward cell. Cole was recaptured three days later at Bondi Junction and was sentenced to an additional and cumulative 12 months for the escape.

Metropolitan Special Programs Centre (MSPC)

Until recently called the 'Malabar Special Programs Centre', the MSPC is a maximum through to minimum security facility which houses many types of inmates. It is the second largest gaol in terms of inmate population in New South Wales. It holds remand inmates, medical transients (inmates undertaking medical treatment), inmates with short sentences and inmates undertaking therapeutic programs. The programs areas of the gaol comprises the Violent Offenders Therapeutic Program (VOTP), Developmentally Delayed Program, Lifestyles Unit (for HIV-positive inmates), which has been unused and empty since 2002, the Kevin Waller Unit for at-risk female inmates (currently used as an assessment unit for aged male inmates), Acute Crisis Management Unit (ACMU) for active suicidal and self-harmers, Multi Purpose Unit or Segregation (high risk inmates on segregation orders and inmates requiring non association for safety) and CUBIT (CUstody Based Intensive Therapy) sex offender program.

A large part of the maximum security area is a transit area where prisoners await a bed in their gaol of classification, or stay whilst obtaining medical treatment/surgery, or are held on remand whilst awaiting trial. 'Metropolitan Medical Transit Centre/LBH2' was a maximum security facility used to hold inmates who had been discharged from Long Bay Hospital or were awaiting medical appointments. Since closure in January 2006 the MSPC now undertakes the role of housing inmates receiving medical treatment. The MMTC re-opened in 2009 but now holds general population remand and medical transit inmates.

Special Purpose Centre (SPC)

The Special Purpose Centre is a maximum security facility which holds inmates requiring special, or strict, protection. As of 2001, the SPC had the capacity to hold up to 65 inmates who are placed in this unit as selected by an Interdepartmental Committee that includes senior police and correctional personnel who authenticate the information supplied by the offenders to ensure that protection is warranted. Many of these offenders are informers who never return to mainstream prison population and are only ever referred to by a number (such as CP01, Commissioners Pleasure 01). Corrective Services NSW advises that there are, however, numerous examples of inmates who make the transition from the SPC to other centres.[11] The identities of inmates housed in this location are not disclosed and staff working there must sign confidentiality agreements.

This Centre is often referred to as the bomb shelter or super grass by other inmates and houses police informants, inmates with bad debts and anyone else the commissioner of corrective services deems to be at risk and unable to be managed in standard protective custody.[2]

Notable prisoners

Cultural depictions

Long Bay Gaol has featured in several books:

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Reynolds, Emma (6 May 2016). "Outrage over Australia's new mega jail". news.com.au. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Kent, Paul (29 August 2009). "Behind the bars at Long Bay, jail opened 100 years ago". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Key moments in Penal Culture in NSW 1970 - present". The Australian Prisons Project. The University of New South Wales. 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  4. Kembrey, Melanie (7 May 2016). "Developers hungry for sale of Long Bay prison complex". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  5. McNally, Lucy (6 May 2016). "New prison for Sydney's south-west to manage overcrowded jails". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  6. "Chronology - A History of Australian Prison Reform". Four Corners. Australia: Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 7 November 2005. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  7. Murphy, Sean (16 June 2001). "Hepatitis C thrives in jail: report" (transcript). The 7.30 Report. Australia: ABC TV. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  8. Smith, Paul (28 September 2011). "Protecting prisoners is a public health priority". Australian Doctor. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  9. Grabosky, P. N. (May 1989). "Chapter 2: The abuse of prisoners in New South Wales 1943-76". Wayward governance : illegality and its control in the public sector. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. ISBN 0 642 14605 5. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  10. Calcino, Chris (27 May 2015). "Long Bay closure puts pressure on to reopen Grafton jail". Northern Star. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  11. Barnes, Lynne A (February 2001). "Protective Custody and Hardship in Prison". Sentencing Trends and Issues: An Analysis of New South Wales Sentencing Statistics and related issues. Judicial Commission of New South Wales (21). ISSN 1036-4722. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  12. "The Poetry of Rogert Adamson".
  13. "Rodney Adler Silverwater Correctional Centre Treatment". Hansard. Parliament of New South Wales. 5 May 2005. p. 15799. Retrieved 28 September 2007.
  14. Matthews, Bernie (December 1990). "Rewarding of criminal informers". Talkback (Interview: audio). Interview with Kathryn Greiner. Sydney: 2UE. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  15. "Bakery Bulletin" (PDF). Hurstville City Council. 2002. Retrieved 29 July 2007.
  16. Kidd, Paul B. (2012). "Archibald Beattie McCafferty: Australia's Worst Prisoner". Serial killers. Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  17. "Lock me up in Long Bay, pleads sickly gangster Neddy Smith". The Sydney Morning Herald. 27 May 2003. Retrieved 28 September 2007.

Further reading

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