Queensland Corrective Services’ Innisfail Work Camp will reopen today after allegations which forced its closure in late August were found to be unsubstantiated.
Corrective Services Minister Neil Roberts said two separate investigations – one by the Chief Inspector of Prisons and the other by the Queensland Police Service – found no evidence to support claims of inappropriate supervision and possible criminal activity at the camp.
“The allegations fell into two categories, with one group of allegations relating to conditions and privileges at the camp and the second group involving claims of criminal activity,” Mr Roberts said.
“The Chief Inspector, with the assistance of an external inspector, commenced an investigation into the procedures, processes and practices relating to the management and supervision of the work camp and the prisoners accommodated there.
“The Queensland Police Service investigated theallegations that would have constituted official misconduct or criminal activity.”
Mr Roberts said the QPS investigation found there was no evidence to support the allegations of misconduct by corrective services officers at the camp, while the Chief Inspector found work camp supervisors’ compliance with work camp procedures was sound.
“The Inspectors recommended that Queensland Corrective Services conduct an audit of conditions and privileges on work camp state-wide and establish an accurate and up-to-date record of them,” Mr Roberts said.
“The Inspectors also recommended that an explicit strategy be developed to support staff training on the maintenance of appropriate boundaries with prisoners.
“The Commissioner for Corrections advises me that this work will be undertaken in the coming months.”
Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said he welcomed the re-opening of the work camp.
“The Minister has advised that an anticipated six prisoners from Lotus Glen Correctional Centre will be housed in the camp and that they will spend the next few weeks undertaking maintenance of local parks, sporting grounds and community areas which have not been attended to since the camp’s closure,” Mr Pitt said.
“The Innisfail Work Camp is a strong contributor to the Innisfail community, and I welcome the strong support of the Cassowary Coast Regional Council for the camp’s ongoing work.
“Queensland Corrective Services’ response to the allegations made – the temporary decommissioning of the camp and investigation by the Chief Inspector and Police – was appropriate in the circumstances.
“The work camp is beneficial to our community, but we need to ensure it is well-managed and well-supervised.
“This incident proves that Queensland Corrective Services takes any allegation of inappropriate or illegal activity at its facilities seriously and that should be welcome news for the community.”