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Custodial Operations

Statewide map of custodial locations Statewide map of custodial locations
(PDF 1.5MB)

The Agency's Statewide Operations Directorate is responsible for managing the state's 9 publicly run and two private correctional centres, which incorporate a variety of high and low security facilities.

Prisoners in Queensland's correctional system undergo constant safety and risk evaluation and are given a high or low security classification. This classification determines if the prisoner will serve time in either a high or low security centre. Many factors are used to determine each prisoners security classification, including risk of escape and risk of harming others.

Through this constant evaluation of each prisoner, the Agency can provide the prisoner with their own individual rehabilitation program.

Booklet: Custodial Operations (PDF 213KB)

High Security

High security centres provide for the management of adult prisoners held in 11 high security correctional centres (nine government and two private) across Queensland.

They are:

These centres have a secure perimeter to ensure containment. Approximately 90 per cent of the State's incarcerated prisoners are held in these centres. Prisoners are managed according to their assessed security classification and particular needs with the provision of opportunities for rehabilitation through participation in education, work, vocational training, and programs designed to address offending behaviour.

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Low Security

Low security centres differ from high security in that there is less reliance on physical containment. To be placed in open custody, prisoners require a low security classification and an assessment as part of their sentence management as to their suitability.

Low security centres are located at:

Prisoners are encouraged to develop increased levels of self responsibility and, as in high security centres, opportunities are provided for their participation in education, work, vocational training and programs. Low security is seen as a step towards rehabilitation and graduated release. Six low security centres across Queensland (including three annexure to high security centres) hold approximately 14 per cent of the State's prisoners.

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Escort and Security Branch

The Escort and Security Branch (ESB), located in the western Brisbane suburb of Wacol, has a number of major functions. Trained custodial correctional officers work in the following areas attached to ESB - Escort Unit, Supreme and District Courts/Magistrates Courts and the Princess Alexandra Hospital Secure Unit (PAHSU). They work in partnership with Queensland Police, members of the Judiciary, staff from the Department of Justice and Attorney-General and Queensland Health staff.

ESB's primary function is the safe and secure transportation of prisoners between correctional centres and places where prisoners are required to attend. The branch is also responsible for the safe and secure custody of prisoners whilst within the confines of the Brisbane Metropolitan Magistrates Court, the Brisbane Supreme and District Court and the PAHSU. PAHSU is a secure medical facility for prisoners to access professional medical services. ESB also provides external escort of prisoners to specialist medical services within the PA Hospital.

ESB staff work in modern and safe environments and drive Queensland Corrective Services' fleet of specially-modified prisoner transport vehicles. There are more than 9500 movements of prisoners each year to a variety of locations including correctional centres, courts and hospitals. ESB staff also escort prisoners on a Leave of Absence to funerals and similar absences from correctional centres.

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Work Program

More Work Camp information

Low security reform – Work camp expansion

Booklet: Work camps (PDF 163KB)

The Work Program is one of the most successful prisoner rehabilitation programs in Queensland, injecting around $2.5 million a year into regional Queensland.

The program - originally known as the Work Outreach Camps (WORC) program - began in early 1990 when a crew of prisoners and officers were sent to the flooded town of Charleville to assist with the clean up.

Now, over two decades later, the program continues to provide regional communities with a valuable source of labour, while also providing prisoners with an opportunity to make reparation to communities and gain valuable skills.

Prisoners perform a multitude of tasks, including maintenance of fences, cemeteries, playgrounds and showgrounds, and participate in many restoration and general maintenance projects.

The program is a positive correctional experience that not only puts prisoner labour to work - providing prisoners with important opportunities to make reparation to the community and develop needed skills and work ethic - but also provides considerable benefits to the people of regional Queensland.

The State's 13 Work camps are aligned to correctional centres. Palen Creek Correctional Centre manages the Mitchell, Dirranbandi, St George and Charleville Work camp sites; Capricornia Correctional Centre is linked with the Clermont, Blackall and Springsure Work camps; Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre manages Warwick Women's Work Camp; Lotus Glen Correctional Centre manages the Innisfail Work camp; and the Boulia, Julia Creek, Winton and Bowen women's Work camps are aligned to Townsville Correctional Centre.

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Prison Industries

Prison industries are a key element of Queensland Corrective Services' goal of rehabilitating offenders. Farming or industry activities are located within all Queensland's correctional centres, including the State's two privately-run facilities.

From bakeries and laundries to beef cattle and textile products, industry activities provide an opportunity for offenders to broaden their vocational skills and work ethic, enhancing their chances of securing and maintaining employment after their release.

Industry activities include:

  • laundry
  • timber products
  • bakery
  • metal products
  • textile products
  • assembly and packing
  • painting and powdercoating
  • dairy
  • beef
  • crop production

The industry activities at each centre, and the markets they operate in, are selected to ensure there is minimal impact on local business. Many of these activities provide goods for use in the prisons and help reduce the cost of running facilities.

All industry activities available to offenders are designed to help them break the cycle of re-offending and become responsible, contributing members of society after their release.

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Intervention and Rehabilitation

QCS offers prisoners a range of programs, activities and treatment services that aim to lower the risk of further offending and meet the needs of offenders.

QCS has three separate prisoner re-entry services:

  1. CREST (Community Re-Entry Services Team) which is a regionally based re-entry service operating in Far Northern Region, Northern region (separate services for men and women), Central, North Coast regions and South East Queensland. The services are also supported by dedicated QCS staff known as Re-entry Advisors who are based within Probation and Parole regional offices. The service includes:

    • an in prison information and referral service to support prisoners approaching release,
    • pre and post release case management for prisoners assessed as high risk of reoffending or with complex re-entry needs, and
    • a crisis support service for offenders released from custody to parole which provides timely access to intervention when offenders are at risk of being returned to custody.

  2. Borallon Training and Correctional Centre Throughcare Service which places a strong focus on education and employment pathways, and includes housing, psychological support and culturally appropriate components aspects.
  3. The MARA Project which is a co-designed, gender specific service for female prisoners in South East Queensland that prioritises issues such as reconnection with children, support for victims of domestic violence,mental health support and substance abuse intervention.

Education and vocational programs provide offenders in custody with valuable skills and training to improve their literacy and educational levels, and to improve their employment opportunities. The programs also play an integral part in the management and rehabilitation of prisoners.

Self-expression through creative endeavours also assists with emotional rehabilitation. Many prisoners take the opportunity to participate in art and craft workshops, either discovering talents for the first time or continuing to develop skills learnt prior to their imprisonment.

QCS also offers a range of programs and interventions to assist prisoners to confront their criminal behaviour, and develop pro-social skills and techniques to control their behaviour and avoid situations that may lead to further offending. These programs target specific behaviour relating to substance abuse, violence and sexual offences.

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Locations and contact details

Custodial Operations
Telephone: (07) 3239 0596
Facsimile: (07) 3239 0600
Address: GPO Box 1054 Brisbane Qld 4001

Complete Queensland Corrective Services contact details can be found on the Contacts page.

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Last updated: 15 February 2017