In a submission to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC), union United Voice Queensland has called for prisoner ratios, more transparent public reporting, and greater accountability at the facilities to stop serious, systemic issues.
United Voice Queensland’s submission to the CCC’s Taskforce Flaxton public inquiry into corruption risks in corrective services facilities has raised concerns about understaffing, misuse of power and a lack of transparency and accountability in the privately run prisons.
The submission states: “The correctional facility environment in Queensland private correctional facilities is typically characterised by conflict and violence; overcrowding; prisoners isolated for prolonged periods of time and living in close proximity; chronic understaffing; and elevated risks to the safety of prison staff.”
United Voice Queensland Coordinator Damien Davie said Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre operator GEO was the worst offender and the State Government needed to take action.
“We welcome the CCC shining a light on some of the reckless and dangerous practices at these prisons.
“In our submission, we’ve reported some of the horror stories our members have told us about prisoner assaults and cover ups.
“We’ve had numerous reports of severe understaffing, including correctional officers working on the floor alone with up to 68 prisoners at times.
“What’s even worse is that the response by GEO to incidents like this is that they shouldn’t be working there if they don’t feel safe.
“It’s the job of management to ensure their correctional officers feel safe and are safe at all times.
“We need Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan to act now, and ensure the contract with GEO is not renewed.
“The situation there is critical and if things continue the way they are, someone could lose their life.”
United Voice is the union representing correctional officers in Queensland’s two privately run prisons - Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre and Southern Queensland Correctional Centre.