Overcrowded prisons ‘unsafe’

PRISONS are increasingly using blow-up mattresses as beds as prisoner numbers surge, according to Together Union regional organizer Ashleigh Saunders.

She said while many people weren't particularly concerned about uncomfortable and agitated prisoners, it was definitely a concern for under-resourced prison officers.

Ms Saunders said officers were at a higher risk of attack while prisons across Queensland, including the Capricornia Correctional Centre, continued to suffer overcrowding.

"Woodford used to be their overflow prison; now it's just for bikies," she said. "The prisons are so crowded they've got people sleeping on blow-up mattress on the floor. But they have the same amount of prison officers.

"They're not safe conditions."

Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne, the shadow corrective services minister, blamed the surge on "the LNP's hard-line mandatory sentencing and bikie laws".

But acting Attorney-General David Crisafulli argued the Newman government was simply keeping its promise to Queenslanders "to get tough on crime after years of slaps on the wrist by the former government".

Mr Byrne agreed with Ms Saunders that the prison system could not handle the surge in numbers.

"Now the state secretary of the Together Union, Norm Jacobsen, has confirmed that there has been a spike in assaults at Lotus Glen in far north Queensland where, he says, the suicide-watch safety centre and detention centre can't cope with demand," Mr Byrne said.

"The Newman government has failed completely to plan for the rising numbers in our jails where inmates are being compelled to spend longer in their cells and where doubling up - two prisoners in cells designed for single occupants - is common."

Mr Crisafulli said there was enough room in the prison system for inmates, as well as access to health and counselling services.



CQ doctor responds to region’s heart health concerns

Premium Content CQ doctor responds to region’s heart health concerns

Dr Ewen McPhee said there were systemic, long-standing public health problems...

’High blood pressure capital’: CQ’s heart-health epidemic

Premium Content ’High blood pressure capital’: CQ’s heart-health epidemic

See why Central Queensland is among the top 10 most inactive regions in the...

Construction plans for two new Mobil servos in Rocky

Premium Content Construction plans for two new Mobil servos in Rocky

Both facilities have been council approved with sites on both sides of the Fitzroy...