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Procedure Properties

Title: Canteen for Offenders
Category: Offender Management
Version: 03
Implement Date: 7 January 2011
Application: Custodial Operations
Availability: Public


Appendices and Forms

  • Canteen Order Form/Price List (in-confidence)
  • Declaration for Financial Losses and Write-offs (in-confidence)
  • Quest User Manual (in-confidence)


Local Procedures


Ownership: Custodial Operations

Procedure - Canteen for Offenders

3.Offender canteen services
4.Purchase limit
5.Canteen support/funding
6.Selling price
7.Prevention of supply of tobacco products to offenders under the age of 18
8.Quality, packaging, size, preparation and storage


To prescribe a standard, consistent and uniform system for the sale of approved goods to offenders through canteens, external buy-ups and vending machines.

1. Accounting

Where canteens are operated in Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) facilities, the Offender - QCS Trust Canteen system must be used. Refer Quest User Manual (in-confidence)

2. Canteen/buy-ups

The general manger of a corrective services facility must provide for the management and administration of the method of, and facility for, the purchase of approved goods and services by an offender. Refer procedure - Offender Purchasing

Sales of approved canteen items must be made-

  1. at least once per fortnight; and
  2. on receipt of administrative form - Canteen Order Form/Price List (in-confidence) signed by the offender or by a face-to-face process.

The general manager may outsource the provision of the canteen management, administration and facility, or part thereof, to an external supplier with the prior approval of the relevant executive director. The outsourcing must be undertaken formally through a written contract or agreement which clearly identifies the responsibilities of both parties. The Legal Services Unit should provide assistance in the drafting process and must approve any proposed contract or agreement.

For canteen items ordered from an outside supplier-

  1. details of the ordering offender must be removed prior to the order being forwarded to the supplier; and
  2. a registration number/purchasing code must be entered on both the offender details and order details sections of the order form and used as the reference between the offender and supplier.

3. Offender canteen services

The general manager of a facility must ensure that the area designated as the facility's canteen is-

  1. secure;
  2. restricted to access by designated staff;
  3. restricted to access by supervised designated offenders; and
  4. equipped with appropriate storage for items held for sale to offenders.

A face-to-face or pick/pack/deliver service or a combination of these services must be provided.

If a canteen facility is not operating or vending machines are installed, the general manager of the facility must provide to the external contractor a designated secure area where the contractor can carry out the business and requirements of the contract or arrangement. Direct contact between offenders and a supplier must not be permitted.

The general manager of a low security facility where a canteen service does not exist, is responsible for ensuring offenders are provided access to similar canteen items under an arrangement approved by the relevant executive director. The amount available to an offender for this purpose must be in accordance with the limits advised in section 4 of this procedure.

4. Purchase limit

An offender may purchase canteen items -

  1. subject to the offender having sufficient funds to purchase the item;
  2. upon initial reception to a facility-to a limit of $30.00. If the offender can not access personal funds, they should be permitted credit up to $30.00 to purchase canteen items additional to the Amenities Pack. Credit for this purpose may include monies advanced to the Prisoner Telephone System (ARUNTA) for use by the offender. Refer procedure - Employment of Offenders; and
  3. to a limit of $110.00 per week including a maximum of 30 tokens and excluding the value of initial reception purchases. The general manager of a facility may set a lower limit for an offender in receipt of the Medical/Special/Remand rate of remuneration or for other appropriate reasons. Refer procedure - Employment of Offenders

The offender should be advised that refunds, prior to his/her discharge or transfer, will be limited to a maximum of 30 tokens.

If the offender is released prior to their repayment of the initial reception pack the outstanding balance should be costed to the Prisoner Amenities Account.

For the purpose of this procedure 'initial reception' means an offender's first admission on remand, following sentence or return to custody from community supervision.

5. Canteen support/funding

The general manager of a facility must ensure that support, funding and equipment for canteen services is provided from the following sources-

  1. Operational Funds-limited to the original set-up of a canteen, including a dedicated area, shelving, fittings, facilities (light, data, telephone and power), computer requirements, handling equipment, and maintenance of this equipment and facility;
  2. Amenities Cost Centre-consumables (bags, computer paper, printer ribbons and cartridges, etc.), write-offs and stock adjustments, support and maintenance of vending machines if owned; and
  3. Supplier Suspense Account (QCS Trust Canteen Module)-purchase of replacement/new stock items for canteen and vending machines if owned.

6. Selling price

With the exception of tokens and tobacco, the selling price of items sold through the canteen is at average cost price (at time of quarterly price updated) plus 5% profit (unless otherwise varied by the relevant executive director) plus applicable GST. If the stipulated 5% mark-up is not to be applied to an item (eg. a prepaid envelope supplied by Australia Post, phone cards, single cards, magazines and newspapers), such items must be sold at the average cost price (at time of quarterly price update) plus applicable GST. The tobacco mark-up is 5% plus the surcharges as outlined in the Queensland Corrective Services Custodial Anti-Smoking Policy and Implementation Plan 2009-2011.

The selling price of an item must be updated by the Systems Officer using the “Update Sale Price” feature, at the beginning of each financial quarter and is fixed for that quarter. Offender Canteen/Buy-up request forms must be updated at this time.

If a mark-up is applied to items sold through the canteen, any loss or gain in profit margins due to the updating practice must be absorbed within the overall mark-up/profit for that quarter.

Selling price settings and adjustments must not be made or altered during each financial quarter without the prior approval of the Systems Officer except for increases and decreases in the cost of an item where a mark-up is not applied. In this instance the selling price is to be adjusted at the time of purchase of new stock by forwarding advice details to the Systems Officer.

7. Prevention of supply of tobacco products to offenders under the age of 18

The general manager of a facility or the owner of a vending machine that provides tobacco products within a facility must provide and display a prohibition sign at or near each point of sale of tobacco products so that the sign is easily visible to an offender purchasing a tobacco product . Refer Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Regulation 1998 (TOSPR), ss. 3, 4 and 5

A “quit smoking” sign must also be displayed at or near each point of sale of tobacco products so that the sign is easily visible to an offender purchasing a tobacco product. Refer TOSPR, ss 10, 11 and 12. An example of adequate signage is “SMOKING KILLS - Contact the Health Centre for a Quit Pack”.

Similar warnings and advice should be incorporated into the administrative form - Canteen Order Form/Price List (in-confidence) provided by each facility.

8. Quality, packaging, size, preparation and storage

The general manager of a facility must ensure that an item purchased by an offender through the canteen/buy-up process is of good quality and condition, and within the manufacturer's “use by” or “best by” date.

With the exception of Helana Jones Centre, the following items must not be provided for sale-

  1. glass containers;
  2. non-rip top cans;
  3. pressure pack cans/containers;
  4. pump action spray containers that can be adapted to spray in a stream; and
  5. containers with the capacity to hold liquid contents of more than 750ml.

Under no circumstances are goods, purchased in a bulk pack which displays a message “Not to be sold separately” or similar, to be sold as an individual item. Doing so may impede an offender's defect claim against a manufacturer and expose QCS to personal injury claims by the offender.

Personal hygiene and food items available only in an outer package containing individually packaged items may be broken and sold as an individual item (eg. toilet soap in a pack of four individually wrapped soaps, breakfast cereals) provided the individual wrapping/packaging clearly lists their ingredients. The consequences of not ensuring the individual package identifies the ingredients may result in an allergic reaction by the offender and breach the Fair Trading Act 1989 and Food Act 2006.

Foodstuffs must be provided in snack portions or individual meal size or restricted to a size that could be consumed by a person in one sitting. An exception may be made for items such as biscuits, cakes, cereals and cordial.

Storage and preparation of fresh produce may only be provided from existing amenities. A freezer or cooking/heating appliance must not be bought with QCS funds specifically to store or prepare fresh produce purchased by an offender.

Items of fresh produce (meat, eggs, ice cream etc.) requiring preparation of more than the addition of hot water, or requiring storage in a freezer, must not be provided for sale unless approved by the relevant executive director.

9. Refunds

When being discharged or transferred from a facility, an offender may request to be refunded the value of vending machine tokens in his/her possession limited to a maximum of 30 tokens.

Other refunds may be at the discretion of the stores supervisor and stores officer during working hours or the officer in charge of the discharge or transfer of the offender if this occurs after hours.

10. Write-offs

If goods for sale are lost, stolen, spoiled, damaged, infested with vermin or are life expired, refer to 2.7 Losses Policy and 2.7.1 Losses Practice Statement in the Financial Management Practice Manual (in-confidence).

If the value of the loss exceeds the recognition threshold, the Declaration for Financial Losses and Write-offs (in-confidence) must be forwarded to the appropriate financial delegate for write-off approval and then emailed to the Chief Finance Officer for recording in the department's Losses Register. Refer Instrument of Financial and Travel Delegations (Department of Community Safety) (in-confidence)

11. Grievances

An offender wanting to make a formal complaint relating to the purchase of an item must

forward written advice to the general manager of the facility describing particulars of the complaint.

The general manager of the facility must ensure an offender's complaint is investigated in a timely manner and the offender must be advised of the outcome in writing. The finding in relation to the complaint, including a copy of the written advice to the offender, must be kept with relevant documentation in a file maintained for this purpose.

Acting Commissioner

Version History

07/01/2011 Version 03 - 30/03/2007 Version 02 - 28/08/2006 Version 01 [Prisoners Canteen] - 17/06/2004