There is a range of reception processes that prisoners go through when they arrive at a prison. These include having their property logged and going through a formal identification process. A number of assessments are also conducted to identify their personal needs. These include program, educational and medical assessments as well as an assessment to determine whether they are at risk of harming themselves or others, or of being harmed by others. The assessments are used when developing a case management plan for the prisoner.
Prisoners are encouraged to participate in rehabilitation programs and activities. These programs and activities are designed to enhance personal development and build self-esteem.
Prisoners may also access nationally-accredited vocational and education training programs. Prisoners who are released on parole part way through completing a program can continue the program through their Probation and Parole Office.
Some prisoners are also able to participate in the prison industries' programs that help them gain job-relevant technical skills and develop positive work habits. Prison industries are diverse and vary from centre to centre.
Prisoners are allowed to bring in some personal items such as underwear and some clothing for outside appointments, such as court appearances. They are also able to purchase items such as books, magazines and CDs. They cannot bring toiletries into the prison and are issued with them on arrival.
Certain items are prohibited. These include mobile phones, keys, electronic opening devices, electronic scanning or transmitting devices, money, credit cards, passports and anything that could be described as a weapon.
Substances such as alcohol and drugs are also prohibited.
Each cell generally accommodates one person. Most cells contain a bed, desk, toilet, shower and hand basin. Prisoners are able to purchase personal items such as soft drinks and reading materials.
Meals in correctional centres are designed in consultation with dieticians to meet the needs of all people, including vegetarians and those with specific religious or medical diets.
Prisoners are permitted to make telephone calls. All telephone calls are recorded and monitored with the exception of calls to legal counsel.
A telephone card system allows prisoners to register up to 10 telephone numbers. These numbers are checked to ensure the people nominated are prepared to accept the calls. There is no legislative limit on the length of the calls although, as a number of prisoners may require access to one telephone, time guidelines may be in place and will vary from centre to centre.
Prisoners are not allowed to receive incoming calls under any circumstances. In an emergency situation, a message will be passed to a prisoner.
Prisoners pay for their own telephone calls, except for calls allowed upon reception and transfer, or in emergency situations.
Visitors must book each visit and have a security clearance before they can enter a correctional centre. They are not permitted to pass anything to prisoners and must follow the centre's rules. Visitors must wear respectable clothing and footwear. Visitors entering secure facilities undergo a variety of security checks which may include electronic drug detection scanning devices, metal detecting and the use of Passive Alert Drug Detection Dogs.
Typically, offenders on court orders are not hardened criminals. They tend to be younger than offenders who have been sentenced to prison terms, and usually have committed less serious offences. They will usually have been placed under supervision because the courts consider them at risk of becoming more serious offenders if nothing is done to stop their behaviour.
Courts may use a variety of sentencing options. These include:
Offenders under community supervision must report regularly to a supervising officer, may not leave the State without permission, and may be required to attend courses or treatment to change their behaviour.
Offenders who can remain employed or who are able to secure employment place less burden on the community and are less likely to re-offend. Prisoners who return gradually to the community through supervision are also less likely to re-offend.
If a person is sentenced to probation, community service or an intensive correction order, they are given an order by the court that contains a number of conditions they must fulfil. First, they must report to the Probation and Parole Office named on the order. They are then allocated a probation and parole officer who ensures they comply with the order conditions, assists them in their rehabilitation, and can initiate disciplinary measures if they fail to comply.
Community service projects are operated by not-for-profit community organisations. They include environmental groups, schools, ambulance services, charities, meals-on-wheels, sporting clubs, local councils and many other organisations. Voluntary supervisors oversee the offenders working on the projects. Offenders, working one or two days a week, provide nearly one million hours of labour each year as reparation to Queensland communities. For many, it is their first experience of voluntary work, and some offenders continue this volunteer work following the completion of their orders.
Probation and parole officers are trained to identify factors that indicate an offender's risk level may be increasing, such as a change in physical appearance, communication style with QCS staff, and instability at home and in a relationship.
Offenders are required to maintain regular contact with Probation and Parole staff, either by personally reporting to an office or through visits conducted to their home or workplace.
QCS employs surveillance officers who conduct home visits and collateral checks to ensure offenders are complying with the conditions of their orders. Collateral checks are made to ensure interventions, such as counselling, are being undertaken and to verify an offender's residential arrangement and employment circumstances.
Contact may be made with an offender's family or other relevant people who can verify how the offender is behaving.
If required, breath and urine testing may be conducted to check current substance use.
QCS actively encourages community members to provide information about the activities of offenders in the community to improve the quality of supervision.