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Cure at last for Maryborough jail crowding

THINKSTOCK

PRISONERS in the overcrowded Maryborough Correctional Centre could soon be transferred to Borallon jail, which will be re-commissioned to ease the pressure on existing services.

State member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders welcomed the announcement that the Ipswich jail would re-open its gates early next year and add 492 beds to Queensland's prison system.

"This will reduce the risk to correctional officers and reduce concerns for family members of prisoners," Mr Saunders said.

Maryborough Correctional Centre, with its 500-person capacity, has suffered from chronic overcrowding in recent years with 582 prisoners recorded at the end of June.

Several assaults have also taken place this year including an attack on a staff member on June 19.

In an announcement yesterday, the State Government said it would spend $8.1 million to recommission the former privately run correctional centre, which was closed in 2012.

More than $145.3 million will be spent over the first four years to operate the facility.

Mr Saunders said the Ipswich jail's reopening was just one strategy to reduce overcrowding at the Maryborough Correctional Centre.

"Eligible prisoners will be able to be transferred to Borallon... and the overcrowding will be reduced across the state to allow transfers to other centres to reduce the impact on Maryborough," he said.

The reopened jail will partner with community providers and offer

employment, training and reintegration programs to break the cycle of crime.

Mr Saunders said Maryborough's inmates who were eligible and wanting to participate in the programs offered at Borallon could be transferred.

Corrective Services Minister Jo-Ann Miller who yesterday made the announcement, said the reopening of the Borallon Correctional Centre would help bring the operating capacity of Queensland's jails back to standard.

Currently, correctional centres across southern Queensland are collectively operating at 112% capacity, she said.

"On July 1 there were up to 1402 prisoners sharing cells designed to accommodate one person," she said.

"Sewage and water systems are at breaking point, prison medical officers are having to work in cramped quarters and staff are telling us that it's unsafe."

Prisoners at Borallon would focus themselves on curbing harmful behaviours and undertake opportunities to improve themselves, Ms Miller said.

"On my watch, prisoners at Borallon won't be sitting around all day doing nothing or leaning bad habits," she said.

"They'll be learning or earning."

Topics:  crime jail jail time overcrowding prison



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