Six new officers hired for M'Boro prison to relieve stress
SIX new custodial officers will start work at Maryborough Correctional Centre later this month in a bid to take pressure off the prison's staff and help relieve stress from overcrowding.
Maryborough Correctional Centre was designed to hold 500 inmates but as of Friday, there were 632 housed at the facility.
Together Union secretary Alex Scott said the union was optimistic to see the impact that the new staff would make.
"For some years now we've been raising overcrowding as an issue with the department," he said.
"Better staffing at our correctional facilities helps safeguard community safety and assists with serious issues such as staff safety and fatigue."
A number of violent incidents happened at the centre last year in which inmates and officers were targeted.
They included an officer being spat on by an inmate, and another officer having water poured on him before being punched in the head.
In another incident, an inmate had to be put on life support in hospital after being struck on the head by a mop bucket.
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said the increase in staff numbers would help but more needed to be done.
"Ultimately we want to reduce the number of inmates back to the capacity it was built for. Until then, we need to work on getting more staff which also has a positive effect of creating local jobs."
But LNP Shadow Corrective Services Minister Tim Mander said all the extra staff was doing was putting them at risk caused by overcrowding.
"I feel for these six new officers at Maryborough because no one deserves to work in such a volatile environment," Mr Mander said.
"Statewide figures reveal a 90% increase in assaults on our prison staff in the first six months of last year," he said.
"Our hard-working prison staff don't deserve to be treated as punching bags."
The new employees are cadets trained at the Queensland Correctional Service Academy.
The custodial officers will work to supervise the prisoners and help in their rehabilitation.