More space needed for Capricornia prisoners

6.40AM: NEARLY 100 Rockhampton inmates are being housed on temporary bunk beds, trundle beds and mattresses on the floor.

A Queensland Corrective Services spokesman said the Capricornia Correctional Centre is well over capacity and authorities "are investigating a range of strategies to achieve a long-term reduction" in numbers.

"There were 504 prisoners at (the prison) as at 27 January 2016. The centre has a built cell capacity of 410," he said.

"QCS has implemented a variety of approaches to safely incarcerate inmates including dual occupancy within cells designed for such use, and the use of temporary bunk beds, trundle beds and mattresses in secure cell or residential areas."

While The Morning Bulletin has previously aired concerns about the overcrowding situation, there were reports yesterday from southern media that body worn cameras were being trialled in four jails to help protect staff against violence as prisoner numbers and attacks on workers rose.

Capricornia was not one of those prisons, though the QCS spokesman said the overcrowding problem was recognised and solutions were being investigated.

A recent trial of body worn cameras at a New Zealand jail found the use of the technology had a calming effect on prisoners who were more likely to change their behaviour if they believe they were being recorded.

The QCS spokesman said they were fully aware of the issue.

"QCS does recognise the need to address overcrowding and is investigating a range of strategies to achieve a long-term reduction in correctional centre numbers," he said.

While concerns about how staff handle the excess numbers have been voiced, the spokesman said staff levels fluctuated along with inmate levels.

"Importantly, staffing levels increase commensurate with any increase in prisoner numbers, as the safety of staff and good order of the prison is a priority," he said.

A spokesperson from the Community and Public Sector Union was unable to make comments before publishing.

WEDNESDAY: CLAIMS Rockhampton prison inmates are among those throughout the state sleeping on the floor due to overcrowding have surfaced today.

A southern media organisation quoted Queensland Corrective Services stating that inmates were forced to sleep on the floor at the Capriocornia Correctional Centre due to a lack of beds. 

It also claimed inmates were assaulting each other, or staff, in the hope of being moved to Maximum Security or detention units in order to be house in single-sleeping cells, instead of the double-sleeping found in the general unit. 


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