Shocking news that prisoners have destroyed 425 televisions at the Lotus Glen Correctional Centre in a year could be a foretaste of the chaos likely in a privatised prison system says Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt.
“It is clearly unacceptable that this amount of damage has occurred within a jail,” Mr Pitt said.
“Clearly something has gone badly wrong in recent times as this was never identified as a problem during the previous Government.
“We can speculate about the causes. It could be that cuts to education and rehabilitation services in the jail have led to greater levels of boredom.
“I am advised prisoners are spending about an hour longer in their cells now than they were before the election and perhaps the level of supervision has dropped.
“I would also like to know if this problem has been identified at other correctional centres in Queensland or if it is isolated to Lotus Glen.
“Whatever the causes it is a matter of some urgency that the Newman Government, and Minister Jack Dempsey, act to fix the problem. Mr Dempsey should outline how much it is costing, but clearly it is a significant sum to replace so many televisions.
“The truth is that until the Newman Government releases the Keelty Review and its responses to it the State’s prison system is in a state of flux, yet we know that the Government wants to outsource and privatise key services where it can.
“The Government continues to sit on this review to hide more bad news from the public ahead of Saturday’s Federal election but we strongly suspect the review will pave the way for privatisation of prisons and further reductions in services that give criminals a better chance of rehabilitation.
“The main priority in correctional services policy should always be the protection of staff and the wider community, but the Newman Government’s priority appears to be to establish a privatised business model in the mistaken belief that it will provide better value for money.
“Under such a model the more prisoners there are, the greater the profit and the more prisoners you pack into a jail the more pressure there is on the system.
“I fear that the destruction of property by bored prisoners will be more likely and we may see more of these problems across the State in privatised facilities.”