TRAPPED INSIDE: Prisoners are being kept inside for extended periods of time at the Capricorn Correctional Centre at Etna Creek outside Rockhampton.
TRAPPED INSIDE: Prisoners are being kept inside for extended periods of time at the Capricorn Correctional Centre at Etna Creek outside Rockhampton.

Prisoner’s fiance claims guard shortage leading to lockdowns

Prisoners are being kept unnecessarily long in their cells due to a guard shortage at Capricorn Correctional Centre, according to a woman speaking out on behalf of her incarcerated fiancé.

It is a claim Queensland Corrective Services is denying.

Not wanting to be named for fear of repercussions, the concerned partner said things had been particularly tough over the Christmas break for the prisoners.

In addition to being locked up overnight, she said they were being prevented from going outside for long stretches during the day, denying them the opportunity to get sunshine and contact their anxious family members.

Inside one of the cell blocks of the Capricorn Correctional Centre.
Inside one of the cell blocks of the Capricorn Correctional Centre.

“On a normal day they get let out 7.30-8am and then they go back in 5.30-6pm, they’ll have their dinner and get locked away for the night,” the partner said.

“But then there will be random days, like Christmas Eve, when they got locked up at 1.30pm for the rest of the day.

“They let them out to get dinner but they weren’t allowed to use the phones.

“I was a bit worried. I’ve got young kids and I wanted my partner to talk to them about Santa.”

She said the lockdowns had been happening a lot lately and were having a detrimental impact on a number of families.

It was commonly believed among prisoners these extended lockdowns were due to an insufficiency of staff to keep watch over them out in the yard.

Prisoners gain valuable employment skills working at the Capricorn Correctional Centre.
Prisoners gain valuable employment skills working at the Capricorn Correctional Centre.

“I think especially at the moment with the coronavirus, there’s so many people out of work and if there is opportunities for work, they should look at hiring more people,” she said.

An ambitious $241 million expansion of the Capricornia Correctional Centre is currently underway, with 13 new buildings taking the number of cells from 410 to 758 and the number of beds from 547 to 945.

The centre was looking for people from all walks of life to fill more than 200 new positions with 18 officers completing their training in Rockhampton and joining Capricornia Correctional Centre in July.

One of the cells at the Capricorn Correctional Centre.
One of the cells at the Capricorn Correctional Centre.

A spokesperson for the Queensland Corrective Services said the allegation of the Capricornia Correctional Centre being short staffed was incorrect.

“The Capricornia Correctional Centre is presently staffed in accordance with the roster,” the spokesperson said.

“There have been a number of operational matters at the centre over the past week which have resulted in parts of the prison either being placed into lockdown, or to not be unlocked while officers from those units assisted officers in other parts of the prison.

“We are actively recruiting for Capricornia Correctional Centre to coincide with the commissioning of new infrastructure next year.”

There is an almost immediate start for trainees for Capricornia Correctional Centre.

Anyone who is interested in taking on a new challenge in the New Year should check out the positions available HERE and at SmartJobs.

This video profiles the role of a Custodial Correctional officer:



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