Collaborative effort to overhaul corrective facilities met with open arms

By Shannon Jenkins

Thursday July 11, 2019

Photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash

Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has welcomed the State Government’s support of Taskforce Flaxton — a report put forward to deal with corruption in Queensland’s prisons.

Taskforce Flaxton was tabled in Parliament December last year to address corruption and risks in Queensland’s corrective services facilities. Following 16 days of public hearings, the examination of 34 witnesses and consideration of 33 written submissions, the CCC made 33 recommendations to Parliament.

CCC Chairperson Alan MacSporran QC said the recommendations would overhaul the existing anti-corruption framework to deliver better internal and external oversight of prisons.

“The CCC’s recommendations will significantly reduce the current corruption risks within Queensland’s corrective service facilities. The recommendations will improve the systems and processes to better detect, prevent and deal with corruption,” he said.

“Key to the improvements we recommended were implementing consistent policies and procedures across all facilities, reviewing the organisational structure, establishing an organisational-wide cultural change program, upgrades to CCTV systems, amending legislation to allow staff working in prisons to be searched, publicly reporting on anti-corruption performance outcomes and the establishment of a properly resourced Independent Inspectorate of Prisons.”

Some of the risks identified were overcrowding, inappropriate relationships between officers and prisoners, and exploitation of inmates with special needs, brought about from prisons being privately operated.

The Government supported 24 recommendations in full and the remaining nine in principle.

READ MORE: Queensland government takes back control of privately run prisons

“The Taskforce observed that Queensland’s hybrid prison system, with its mix of public and private operational responsibility, was not optimal,” Minister for Corrective Services, Mark Ryan said.

Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) Commissioner Peter Martin supports the government’s decision to support the “vital blueprint” that will “provide a roadmap for the department”.

“As a top tier public safety agency, it is vital that we develop and maintain the capability required to prevent, detect and respond to corruption risks in our prisons,” he said.

The cooperation from QCS, Queensland Health, unions, academics and policy experts enabled a “thorough and productive” approach to the issues, according to the CCC.

“Taskforce Flaxton is an example of how a collaborative approach to identifying corruption risks and then agreeing on solutions can deliver wholesale system reform,” MacSporran said.

“The implementation of the recommendations will benefit staff working in these facilities, better serve those people detained in facilities, improve oversight and ensure corruption and corruption risks are dealt with effectively.”

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