Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks to media in Rockhampton.
Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks to media in Rockhampton. Adam Wratten

Will the $200m expansion solve CQ's prison problems?

THE Palaszczuk Government last week announced a $200 million, 164 one-bed cell expansion to the Capricornia Correctional Centre (CCC) to reduce strain on the prison.

But will it actually solve the problem of overcrowding?

In October 2016, figures from the Queensland Department of Corrective Services revealed the Capricornia Correctional Centre was 181 prisoners over capacity.

This surplus of bodies meant cells designed for one person were being used to house multiple prisoners which lead to an increase in sexual and physical assaults at the centre as reported by ABC Capricornia late last year.

Current figures from the department indicate with the additional 164 cells, the prison will be under capacity after the expansion.

But with the project not due to start until November 2017 and the fact inmate numbers fluctuate, the expansion may not be all it's cracked up to be considering the Premier's desire to introduce additional prisoners to the centre.

When Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the expansion in Rockhampton, she said it was a "possibility” prisoners could be shipped in from around the state to the new expanded prison to relieve overcrowding.

Despite this, Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan said "no additional demand on the centre is expected” following the expansion.

Mr Ryan also said "based on current prisoner numbers at Capricornia Correctional Centre, these additional cells will mean the centre will no longer be operating above capacity”, but figures from previous months have seen these numbers greatly exceed the centre's future capacity.

Shadow Corrective Services Minister Tim Mander slammed Labor's project and said the state government had turned our prisons into a "fight club”.

"The LNP had a $61 million plan for 650 new beds in prisons across the state that was fully budgeted in the 2014/15 budget,” Mr Mander said.

"Labor scrapped that plan when they came into government and as a result, populations have increased by almost 20 per cent and our prisons have turned into fight clubs.

"Now Labor has announced a costly band-aid solution that won't actually fix the problem.

"We won't know whether Labor's plan is value for taxpayers' money because Labor refuses to release the business case for their proposal.”



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