CORRECTIVE Services NSW is concerned about political claims, which state the community programs at St Heliers are in danger of being cut.
Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party Upper Hunter candidate Lee Watts asserted last week initiatives at the Muswellbrook facility, including cattle-raising on land agisted from Mt Arthur, vegetable growing and furniture restoration, were being pared down and sent to maximum security prisons in Sydney instead.
It also set the scene for St Heliers to be privatised, too.
"The local community is proud of a raft of programs they have developed with the correctional centre, which keep the prisoners busy," she said.
"Unfortunately, they have been told all the programs will now be cut, leaving local prison guards shaking their heads and fearful of what the cuts will mean.
"They have 300 cattle they've been raising on land agistment to them from Mt Arthur.
"But, the bureaucrats in Sydney told them they need to sell all of the cattle, including some calves that are only a few weeks old.
"The furniture they restore is now being sent to maximum security prisons in Sydney; and they've been told they are not even allowed to grow vegetables anymore.
"None of this makes any sense to the guards or to me."
A Corrective Services NSW spokeswoman admitted she was troubled by Mrs Watts' sentiments, which could cause unrest in the community.
"Drought conditions and concerns about access to water have forced Corrective Services Industries to cease raising cattle on leased land at Mt Arthur," she said.
"Existing cattle stock will be sold off in the coming months.
"However, the St Heliers land will be restocked when the drought breaks.
"Corrective Service Industries is also continuing to grow, process and package vegetables, and restore furniture at the Muswellbrook centre.
"So, the inmates will continue to work and learn valuable trade skills in these sectors.
"There'll be no change to staffing levels or inmate employment at St Heliers.
"Corrective Services NSW has no intention of privatising the centre."
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