Queensland Corrective Services must be 'forward-thinking', says commissioner

By Shannon Jenkins

August 13, 2019

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A 10-year strategic plan to transform Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) and the state’s communities has been launched by Commissioner Peter Martin.

Consultation with QCS staff and global best practice in corrections influenced the development of Corrections 2030.

Commissioner Martin said the strategy has provided a roadmap for decisionmaking, identifying what success looks like for a modern, evidence-based corrections department.

“To meet the challenges of the next decade, QCS must transform into a forward-thinking, top tier public safety agency,” he said.

“Corrections 2030 identifies the core principles which should underpin everything we do — safety, excellence, empowerment, accountability and respect. By adopting these principles and using them as a lens to cast over our decisions and engage with each other, our stakeholders and the prisoners and offenders in our care, we will be well on our way to achieving our goals as an agency.”

Martin said QCS has been tasked with addressing the offending behaviour of “some of the most challenging and complex people in our society” — more than 8800 prisoners and 21,000 offenders on community-based orders. 

He argued QCS “has an important role to play by reducing reoffending through the effective rehabilitation of prisoners and offenders”.

READ MORE: Collaborative effort to overhaul corrective facilities met with open arms

The strategy’s vision is that by 2030, Queensland’s communities will be safer with fewer victims of crime. Its principles include promoting safety, strengthening partnering and collaboration, reducing crime, empowering a professional workforce, and driving innovation. 

By 2030, QCS aims to:

  • reduce the assault rate by prisoners and offenders in correctional environments by 50%,
  • increase the quantity and quality of partnerships across the government and non-government sector, including with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations,
  • increase in community awareness of QCS and what they do,
  • contribute to reducing the number of Queenslanders who are victims of personal and property crime by 10%,
  • rank in the top 20% and second 20% of agencies against individual factors in the Working for Queensland Survey,
  • increase the number of collaborative partnerships with universities and non-government institutions,
  • increase the number of innovative and evidence-based practices implemented across the department.

An overhaul of Queensland’s corrective facilities has been a long time coming. In 2016, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk commissioned Walter Sofronoff to review the parole system, following the death of a Townsville woman. There have been two prison lockdowns since May — Capricornia Correctional Centre, and Borallon Correctional Centre.

Last month, the government gave its support to Taskforce Flaxton — a report put forward to deal with corruption in the state’s correctional centres.

The government has also invested $265 million over six years to support reforms, which Minister for Police and Corrective Services Mark Ryan said was the largest single investment in QCS in the past 20 years. He said the new plan will support reforms that are already underway.

“The growing complexity of Queensland’s criminal justice system demands more from justice agencies—none more so than QCS—as traditional responses to crime are challenged. Looking to 2028 and beyond, QCS will look very different to today,” he said.

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