The mice plague that has cut a destructive swathe through western NSW for months is forcing the evacuation of a jail in the region.
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.
Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said operations at the jail would be scaled back to deal with the crisis and in-person visits had been suspended until the remediation work is completed.
“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,” he said on Tuesday.
“We need to take this step now to ensure the site is thoroughly cleaned and infrastructure is repaired,” he said.
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 the remediation work would include investigating ways to protect the centre from future mice plagues.