Overcrowding turns prison officers into punching bags

LNP Shadow Minister for Corrective Services Trevor Watts said an alarming number of assaults on prison officers was a failure of Palaszczuk Labor Government’s ability to manage prison overcrowding.

“Since 2015 our hardworking prison officers have been the victim of more than 848 prisoner-on-staff assaults,” Mr Watts said.*

“Even worse, 14 serious assaults required medical treatment involving overnight hospitalisation, ongoing medical treatment or sexual assault have occurred since March 2015.

“During the same period, there were 199 assaults on staff which resulted in short-term medical treatment for the officers involved.

“Queensland prisons are bursting at the seams and our prison officers are being treated as punching bags, yet the Palaszczuk Government just keeps turning a blind eye.

“Our prison system is grossly overcrowded with over 8,800 prisoners crammed into a system with a capacity of just over 7,500.”

Mr Watts said the LNP had been raising the issue of prison overcrowding since 2015.

“Tensions have reached boiling point because of systematic overcrowding, and the Palaszczuk Labor Government have done absolutely nothing about it,” he said.

“In 2014, the LNP allocated $61 million in the budget for a 650-bed expansion across Queensland correctional facilities.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government claim they have ‘zero tolerance’ for violence in Queensland’s correctional facilities but their inaction clearly shows they don’t care.

“Prison guards have a hard enough job as it is without Labor throwing them into a cage fight each day.

“They deserve better protection from a Labor government that claims to be ‘for the worker’.

“The incompetence of this Labor Government is putting the safety of our prison officers at risk.”

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