Administration of the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre (SQCC) and Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre has successfully transitioned to the state government in line with recommendations made by the Crime and Corruption Commission three years ago.
The process to bring the privately owned facilities under government control now means that every prison in the state is under the management of Queensland Corrective Services (QCS).
The historic move to bring the correctional facilities under public control was in response to the recommendations of Taskforce Flaxton, an inquiry conducted by the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission into systemic issues and standards of integrity in adult prisons.
The state government responded to the taskforce report in 2019, announcing a plan named Operation Certitude to transition the privately run adult correctional facilities to state ownership by 1 July 2020.
Corrective services minister Mark Ryan welcomed new officers to the QCS and wished them well as they continued their careers under new management.
“It is a challenging but essential job that they do to keep the community safe,” Ryan said.
The government’s transition plan for the SQCC transition also includes building works to expand the prison so that it can accommodate another 1,000 beds for inmates and ‘expand the capacity’ of the state’s corrections network.
“This year’s budget includes a $320 million investment towards construction of what will be a game-changing piece of infrastructure for the Lockyer Valley and surrounds,” Ryan said of the SQCC build.
“This massive project will support hundreds of construction jobs and will provide close to 500 permanent, full time jobs once the centre is completed at the end of 2023.”
Newly minted Queensland corrective services commissioner Paul Stewart said the consolidation work to merge the two facilities into the public system had been ‘some of the most complex’ in the 170 years of the department. He thanked all those involved in the transition process for their work and said he was proud of what the group had achieved.
“The program of work to transition is of critical importance to QCS and consolidating our correctional environments across the state will increase the safety for our officers, prisoners and the community,” Stewart said.
“The amount of work undertaken to do this is incredibly significant and covers areas from physical infrastructure, process, technology and training and touched all areas of the correctional system.”
Commissioner Stewart paid special thanks to the local SQCC managers for their collaboration in the transition process.
“I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to achieve, and I am confident in the future state of corrective services in Queensland as a result of this significant undertaking,” he said.