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Bleijie's 'double bunk' plan dangerous for prisoners and staff

SHARING: Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie intends to “double bunk” prisoners in jails such as the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre at Wacol.
SHARING: Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie intends to “double bunk” prisoners in jails such as the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre at Wacol. Sarah Harvey

PRISONERS will be "double bunked" when our crowded jails reach capacity, a move the union has slammed over safety concerns.

During a visit to Ipswich this week State Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said inmates would share cells when the region's prisons reached capacity.

He said putting a second prisoner inside a cell was a common practice and he had no problem introducing it in local prisons.

"Prison capacity goes up and down all the time," he said. "If we get to a certain capacity for a prison by numbers, i.e single rooms, then we just double bunk people.

"I take the view that I don't care if prisoners are double bunked, and if it's uncomfortable for the prisoner.

"It happens everywhere else."

The Queensland Times reported in March the Wolston Correctional Facility in Wacol was at 110% of its capacity.

However, the Together Union, which represents prison workers, says the practice will lead to more dangerous conditions for prisoners and staff as it would increase the risk of assaults and riots.

Together Industrial Services director Michael Thomas said double bunking prisoners had historically led to more assaults and riots inside correctional facilities.

"The Attorney-General's remarks about corrections ... show just how out of touch he is," he said.

"There's clear history that prisoner double-ups lead to increased assaults, riots and problems in prisons putting the safety of prisoners and staff at risk.

"The fact that the Attorney-General does not seem to care is shocking."

Mr Thomas said it would increase the risks for staff working inside prisons.

However, Mr Bleijie said doubling up inside cells was a common practice in prisons globally and was not concerned with reports Wacol prisons were at "surge capacity".

"There's no issue with putting double bunks in prisons. It happens everywhere around the world," Mr Bleijie said.

"So prison capacity is based off one person per cell.

"And if they can do it in mining camps, they can do it in the army, navy and the air force, then they can do it in prison."

Topics:  jarrod bleijie, overcrowding, together union



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