Prison assaults on the rise
AN INCREASE in major and minor assaults by prisoners on prisoners at Maryborough Corrective Centre is a concern to Corrective Services Minister Neil Roberts.
“Any assault inside a correctional centre is a concern, however it is important to note that the number of assaults will fluctuate from year to year,” Mr Roberts said yesterday.
The ugly business of prison violence was raised this week by the opposition corrective services spokesman Vaughan Johnson, who accused the minister of losing control of Queensland's jails.
Mr Johnson compared official prisoner-on-prisoner statistics for the 2008/9 year with 2009/10, claiming it showed “a frightening” 13.6 per cent increase.
The stats showed an increase in major assaults from four to six, and a jump in minor assaults from 39 to 51.
After Lotus Glen (57) and Brisbane (55) correctional centres, Maryborough ranked third highest of 21 centres in the state for minor assaults.
During the same time period the number of minor assaults on staff at Maryborough Correctional Centre decreased from 13 in 2008/09 to seven in 2009/10.
There were no major assaults on staff in either year.
“However, we saw an increase in the number of major and minor assaults on prisoners by other prisoners. This is a concern and something that Queensland Corrective Services continues to address,” Minister Neil Roberts said.
“We do not tolerate acts of violence against our prison officers, or between prisoners in our correctional centres. Prisoners who assault others in our prisons face the full force of the law. In many cases this means more jail time, or loss of privileges.
“According to the latest report on government services, in 2008-09 Queensland achieved the lowest prisoner on staff assault rate of all states at 0.23 per 100 prisoners, and below the national average of 0.53.
“Queensland's rate of prisoner on staff serious assault was 0.02, which is also below the national average of 0.03.”
Mr Roberts dismissed Mr Johnson's comments on prison security as hypocrisy, saying the rate of minor assaults stood at 7.1 per 100 prisoners under the former National Party government in 1997/98, compared with 3.18 per 100 prisoners in 2009/10 under the current Labor government.
MARYBOROUGH PRISON ASSAULTS
2008-2009 / 2009-2010
Prisoner on prisoner (major) 4/6
Prisoner on prisoner (minor)
Prisoner on staff (major) 0/0
Prisoner on staff (minor) 13/7