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Work Program

Work Program - working smarter for regional Queenslanders

As part of a reform of low security custody, Queensland’s Work camps will be delivering more labour to Queensland communities. For more information about the reform project, visit the homepage.

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

The program - originally known as the Work Outreach Camps (WORC) program - had its origins in the floodwaters of the Warrego River that inundated the western Queensland town of Charleville in early 1990. The first crew of officers and prisoners left Brisbane in April that year to provide assistance to the flood-stricken region.

Now, almost 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.

As part of a reform of low security custody, Queensland’s Work camps will be delivering more labour to Queensland communities. For more information about the reform project, visit the homepage.

Alignment of Work camps to correctional centres

The State's 13 Work camps are aligned to local correctional centres:

  • Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre:
    • Warwick (women's)
  • Capricornia Correctional Centre:
    • Springsure, Clermont and Blackall
  • Darling Downs Correctional Centre:
    • Mitchell, Charleville, Dirranbandi and St George
  • Lotus Glen Correctional Centre:
    • Innisfail
  • Townsville Correctional Centre:
    • Boulia, Julia Creek, Winton and Bowen (women's)

Aim of the program

The Work Program is a positive correctional experience that not only puts prisoners to work - providing them 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.

It also provides employment opportunities to community members to assist in supervising project work.

Each Work camp has a Community Advisory Committee that is made up of local residents. It is the role of these committees to determine when and where work in their communities is to be performed.

Regional communities benefit by having a source of labour to undertake projects or community work that would otherwise not be completed.

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

Temporary Work camps

Work camps were founded as part of an emergency response effort to assist the people of Charleville clean-up and rebuild their community after devastating floods in 1990. Today, the Work Program continues that tradition of providing assistance to communities that have been devastated by floods, storms or other natural disasters.

Temporary work crews can be quickly deployed and established in a cost-efficient way. In early 2008, there were up to 100 prisoners assisting local councils in areas including Emerald, Charleville, Beaudesert and Mackay. In early 2009, crews were deployed to assist flood affected areas at Ingham and surrounding areas. The prisoners assist with clearing debris from parks, gardens and sporting venues, removing rubbish, repairing fences and undertaking concreting.

Once the need for assistance is reduced, the crew is able to return to their relevant correctional centre and regular duties at permanent camp sites. Permanent Work camps are only in select areas where there has been a specific invitation and support from the local community, and following community consultation.


Work camps are made up of low-risk prisoners, supervised by Custodial Correctional Officers. Prisoners with a sexual offence history are ineligible to participate.

Prisoners are assessed in respect to their suitability to work in the community before being allowed to join a Work camp. While working at the camp their behaviour is monitored by supervising Custodial Correctional Officers and they are required to submit to random drug testing for illicit substances.

Further information

For more information on the Work Program send an email inquiry or phone the Darling Downs, Capricornia, Townsville, Lotus Glen or Brisbane Women's correctional centres. Contact details for all correctional centres are listed on the Contact Details page.

Last updated: 16 December 2013