Queensland Corrective Services is strengthening its efforts to prevent COVID-19 from entering Queensland prisons, with tough new protocols around prisoner receptions and transfers coming into place from Wednesday April 8.
Commissioner Peter Martin APM said that the strengthened regimes would see all new receptions and transferred prisoners being placed in isolation in high security centres for 14 days.
“To limit the risk of a prisoner with COVID-19 being received into the secure custody environment, reception prisoners and transfer prisoners will now be subject to isolation and monitoring for a period of 14 days,” Commissioner Martin said.
“During the isolation period, prisoners will be confined to a cell, with no engagement with other prisoners or out of cell time. Interactions with officers and health staff will be carefully managed to try to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 which would put the lives of our officers and prisoners at risk.
“Once the 14-day period has expired, the prisoner will be considered for placement in the general prisoner population after a final health check to ensure they are not a risk.
“Prisoner movements between centres will only occur when essential for placement. Prisoner requested moves will be restricted.
“Primary transfer of prisoners from reception and remand facilities in south east Queensland to placement facilities will continue, but transfer prisoners will be subject to isolation upon reception into a new facility.
“We are also committed to ensuring community safety, and as such, Sentence Management Services will identify all prisoners who are pending discharge, and when a prisoner is 14 days or less from the point of discharge, Queensland Health will temperature check the prisoner to ensure they do not require isolation.
“We recognise that this is a significant departure from our usual procedures, but we absolutely have to protect the health of our officers and other prisoners. Already overseas prisons are seeing the terrible impact this pandemic can have within a prison environment.
“We absolutely must take every step possible to prevent COVID-19 entering Queensland prisons,” Commissioner Martin said.