Wolston Correctional Centre at Wacol, Queensland.
Wolston Correctional Centre at Wacol, Queensland.

Jailbreak fears raised over budget cut

Prison officers say a jailbreak could happen if budget cuts of $20 million go ahead at Queensland jails.

Union officials have been told that prisons need to make two per cent in budget savings.

The proposed cuts come despite the prisoner population continuing to increase.

"Certainly we have concerns," Together Union industrial services director Michael Thomas said.

"Western Australia saw prisoners escape because of the same sort of cost cutting, staffing pressure and overcrowding that we are seeing here in Queensland.

"We've seen it in Queensland back when the Brenden Abbott escape occurred and we are really concerned we are going down the same path as we did back then."

The Wolston Correctional Centre. Pic Peter Wallis
The Wolston Correctional Centre. Pic Peter Wallis


If the cuts occur, prison officers have also warned that inmates could be locked up for longer periods which could cause further unrest and fights.

"If these savings measures or budget cuts are accurate - and certainly no one is denying they are being imposed - they are fundamentally flawed," Mr Thomas said.

"They put the corrective services at risk, they put prisoners at risks, officers at risk and the community at risk.

"The Queensland prison system is already bursting at the seams."

Queensland Corrective Services have been contacted for comment.

Mr Thomas said officers had already managed to avoid serious injury or death "by luck".

He said it was lucky someone wasn't killed when prisoners rioted earlier this year at Wolston jail in an attempt to get to child killer Brett Peter Cowan.

 

Security at Wolston Correctional Centre. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Security at Wolston Correctional Centre. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

The Crime and Corruption Commission has held hearings looking into corruption and corruption risks in Queensland jails.

It is due to hand down its report soon.

"To be making cuts before the CCC report seems premature and silly," Mr Thomas said.

"The Government needs to hold off doing anything."



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