New officers assigned to Capricornia Correctional Centre
EIGHTEEN custodial correctional officers joined the ranks of Queensland Corrective Services yesterday as part of the State Government’s response to assaults on prison officers.
The graduates completed their training in Rockhampton and will be assigned to Capricornia Correctional Centre, but because of coronavirus will have their formal graduation ceremony later.
Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan said to support correctional officers, the government had taken action to strengthen laws, increase staffing levels, provide more safety equipment and more training, and expand prison capacity.
“Correctional officers manage people with some of the most complex needs in the community,” he said.
“The nature of prisons means that incidents can and do occur and officers sometimes need to put themselves in situations that can be dangerous.”
Mr Ryan said physically expanding the prison, which the State Government had begun to do at the cost of $242 million, was also “instrumental” to recovering from the economic damage done by COVID-19.
“I know the tough economic environment created by COVID-19 has impacted communities in the regions,” he said.
“Now, more than ever, every Queensland job counts.”
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said 170 construction jobs were involved in the work and “over 200 positions” were available at the prison.
LNP Shadow Corrective Services Minister Dan Purdie called it “a welcome investment” that had come too late “given the state of our correctional centres, and the critical issues of overcrowding”.
“Hopefully these additional staff will help them manage the current environment where officers are being assaulted almost daily,” he said.
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke congratulated the officers, who he said “underwent an intensive specialist program”.