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Queensland high security prisons 'beyond capacity'


Tony Moore

The number of people in all Queensland's prisons has soared to 7141since the Queensland government changed.

The number of people in all Queensland's prisons has soared to 7141since the Queensland government changed. Photo: Supplied

All but two of Queensland’s 11 high security prisons are now filled “beyond capacity”.

The number of people in Queensland's 19 prisons has soared to 7141, an increase of 1561 prisoners since the Queensland government changed in March 2012.

That increase in prisoners is equivalent to the population of Queensland’s two largest prisons.

In June 2012 there were 5600 prisoners, a figure which had been stable for five years.

The only two high-security prisons that are not running “over capacity” are Wacol’s Arthur Gorrie Remand and Reception Centre and the Lotus Glen prison outside Mareeba.

The prison most over capacity is the Wolston Correctional Centre which has 110 extra prisoners, while Brisbane’s Women’s Prison was 90 prisoners over capacity on June 11, 2014.

Shadow Police and Corrective Services Minister Bill Byrne said the prisons population growth was putting an enormous economic strain on the Queensland budget.

“In the year to June 1 2014, the prison population increased by more than 1,000 to 7,222, well beyond the number of permanent beds (6,832) in Queensland’s jails,” Mr Byne said.

He said budget papers showed the cost of running Queensland’s prisons had grown by $245.3 million in the past 12 months.

“In pure cash terms it is a heavy price indeed. The cost of running the prison service has risen by $245.3 million in one year."

A spokesperson for Corrective Services Queensland the correct running cost was a $45 million increase over 2013-14.

“The Queensland Corrective Services operating budget for 2014-15 amounts to $705.43 million, an increase of $45 million or 6.8 per cent over 2013-14.”

The 492-bed Borallon Prison near Ipswich which had been mothballed is now being renovated at a cost of $62.5 million to become a new men’s prison.

More than $11 million is being spent to turn Gatton’s 302-bed Southern Queensland Correctional Centre into a women’s prison.

The budget also allocates $3.5 million over five years to put together a business case for a new 1000-bed men’s prison at Gatton.

Corrective Services denied there was a major skin infection problem at the Woodford prison, which has been discussed with Fairfax Media by two parents of Woodford prisoners.

Prison population of each high-security Queensland prison at June 11, 2014 and their “built-bed” capacity:

1: Arthur Gorrie at Wacol:  897 prisoners; capacity 918.

2: Brisbane Correctional Centre at Wacol: 601 prisoners; capacity 572.

3: Maryborough Correctional Centre: 552 prisoners; capacity 516.

4: Southern Queensland Correctional Centre near Gatton: 374 prisoners; capacity 312.

5: Wolston Correctional Centre: 724 prisoners; capacity 614.

6: Woodford Correctional Centre: prisoners 1076; capacity 1046.

7: Capricornia Correctional Centre at Rockhampton: prisoners 495; capacity 430.

8:  Lotus Glen Correctional Centre at Mareeba: prisoners 688; capacity 732.

9: Townsville Men’s Correctional Centre: prisoners 588: capacity 505.

10: Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre: prisoners 360; capacity 270.

11: Townsville Women’s Correctional Centre: prisoners 166; capacity 158.

Source: Queensland Corrective Services

24 comments so far

  • For a State that was as supposedly broke as Spain according to Campbell Newman, how is it that we can now afford this level of expense? Where's the money coming from for this, yet the LNP could sack thousands of Government workers, throwing them and their families onto the unemployment queue, because they could no longer be afforded? This LNP government has the most twisted priorities.

    LNP=Twisted priorities
    Date and time
    June 12, 2014, 10:51PM
    • You've twisted that well. Campbell never said we were as broke as Spain he said we were the Spain of Australian States. Here's a Brisbane times link for you to cut and past.

      Date and time
      June 13, 2014, 9:58AM
    • To Oscar,

      The fact is, Campbell Newman did say Queensland were bankrupt and compared us to Spain.

      LNP=Twisted priorities
      Date and time
      June 13, 2014, 12:30PM
    • The LNP strategy seems to be to have more people in prison than in a job.

      Certainly twisted
      Date and time
      June 13, 2014, 12:46PM
  • just put more beds in and only feed them what they grow on site

    Date and time
    June 13, 2014, 5:32AM
    • Put bunk beds in there. Put the child molesters in with murderers, problem solved. No need to thank me.

      Bob Evans
      Date and time
      June 13, 2014, 6:12AM
      • Legalise weed- problem solved. An without the cruelness as suggested here.

        Date and time
        June 13, 2014, 8:20AM
    • easy to see why judges are given such light sentences or short parole periods. They know that there isn't anywhere to put them. Manus island perhaps?

      Date and time
      June 13, 2014, 6:40AM
      • So the fact that people can't obey the law is the Governments fault?. How ridiculous. What do you suggest we do, stop putting criminals in jail. Maybe the fault lies with the criminals themselves, you know, its their behaviour that causes them to be put in prison. One of these days the crims will start to realise the connection, along with the do-gooders.

        Date and time
        June 13, 2014, 6:46AM
        • No what I suggest we do is stop following the USA in their style of criminal justice. The USA has the highest reoffending rate and imprisonment rates in the western world and cant build gaols fast enough. Why the hell are we following them in their "punishment" mentallity ? Norway has the lowest reoffending rate and imprisonment rates in the WHOLE world and are closing gaols for lack of prisoners. Why ? Because the Norwegians follow a rehabilitation policy in criminal justice, fixing the problems in people that caused the crime in the first place. Punishment as a criminal justice policy is a complete and expensive failure.
          If what you are doing is not working then look around for what is working.

          Date and time
          June 13, 2014, 8:24AM

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