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Procedure Properties

Title: Employment of Prisoners
Category: Offender Management
Version: 05
Implement Date: 14 November 2011
Application: Custodial Operations
Availability: Public


Appendices and Forms


Standard Operating Procedures

  • Safety Orders
  • Work Program - Community Services Project
  • Work Program - Management of Work Camps
  • Work Program - Work Order Assessment and Approval

Local procedures


Ownership: Offender Intervention Services

Procedure - Employment of Prisoners

1.2Meaningful activity
1.3Employment streams
2.Prisoner employment process
2.1Initial placement
3.Employment transfer / change
4.Workplace health and safety
4.1Prisoner working conditions
4.2Bulk store
5.1Hygiene allowance
5.2Unemployment allowance
5.3Support allowance
5.4Attendance sheets
5.5Frequency of payment
5.6Public holidays
5.7Industrial action
5.8Prisoner health, sick leave, absenteeism
6.Suspension from employment
6.1Grounds for suspension
6.2Suspension process
7.Prisoner behaviour affecting incentive payment rates
7.1Prisoners undertaking programs
7.2Poor work performance
7.3Breaches of discipline
8.Multidisciplinary team
9.Job descriptions
9.1Duty statements
10.Employment profiles


To provide for employment of prisoners by assigning prisoners to available positions using an interdisciplinary approach that considers a prisoner's Offender Rehabilitation Plan and behaviour. It offers equitable and consistent employment incentives to prisoners actively involved in rehabilitation and reparation activities to encourage prisoner motivation and engagement in meaningful and rehabilitative activities.

1. General

1.1 Definitions

“delegate” - refer Corrective Services Act 2006 (CSA); Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence)

“industries stream” - fee-for-service industry that employ prisoners.

“multidisciplinary team” - Team led by the general manager or nominee and comprising staff from offender programs, sentence management, industries and operations/accommodation areas as available in each facility. The purpose of the team is to oversee the application of the incentive payment in light of changes in a prisoner's situation.

“nominated officer” - an officer nominated to perform a particular function at the facility.

“prison industries” - refer procedure - Prison Industries' Operation

“program” - Types include intervention, adult education, vocational education and training.

“services stream” - where prisoners are employed to maintain the self-sufficiency of the corrective services facility including unit kitchens but excluding centre kitchens(not fee-for-service).

“kitchen stream” - Where prisoners are employed in the centre kitchens.

“work camp” - Refer CSA s. 151; standard operating procedure - Work Program - Management of Work Camps. The Work Camp 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 Queensland.

“support allowance” - Allowance paid to workers who cannot work for a day due to illness (with medical certificate) or public holiday (workplace closed).

“community service” - Opportunities for prisoners to make reparation to the community by undertaking voluntary activity at approved projects within the community.

1.2 Meaningful activity

Sentenced prisoners are expected to engage in meaningful activity that contributes to skills acquisition and positive behaviour development. Remand-only prisoners are also encouraged to participate in meaningful activity.

1.3 Employment streams

The employment streams operating in Queensland are-

  1. services, which include prisoners participating in approved full-time educational programs as part of their Offender Rehabilitation Plans (ORP);
  2. industries, which also include aged and infirm full-time carers.
  3. centre kitchens (not unit kitchens); and
  4. work camps which include prisoners participating in community service or remote camps.

The employment streams have corresponding incentive payment rates.

Refer CSA s. 316; policy - Prisoner Employment Policy and Action Plan; Queensland Corrective Services Work Camps; and standard operating procedures - Work Program - Community Services Project; Work Program - Management of Work Camps; Work Program - Work Order Assessment and Approval; appendix - Incentive Payment Streams and Rates

2. Prisoner employment process

Refer policy - Prisoner Employment Policy and Action Plan

General employment principles-

  1. remand-only prisoners are not required to be employed, but are encouraged to;
  2. sentenced prisoners are expected to work or seek employment as vacancies arise unless -

    1. the facility's medical staff certify that the prisoner is unfit for work; or
    2. the prisoner is on an approved full-time program; and

  3. a high level of safety and security of the facility must be maintained.

2.1 Initial placement

The placement process commences at the prisoner's induction (refer procedure - Induction).

  1. Upon arrival at the facility/accommodation area the prisoner must be advised of the expectation to work and of the employment opportunities available within the facility;
  2. The nominated officer must refer to the prisoner's offender file to identify any issues that may preclude the prisoner from gaining employment;
  3. The nominated officer must refer to the prisoner's offender file and consider any recommendations or relevant information noted in the vocation and educational needs assessment. Refer procedure - Planning;
  4. The nominated officer must ensure that each prisoner completes the administrative form to state any known medical condition precluding him or her from working in available employment streams (eg. kitchen, any industries workshop, other employment areas). Refer administrative form - Offender Employment Information; For example, a prisoner who declares medical fitness to work in any prison industries workshop may prove ineligible if presenting with asthma or an allergy to dust to fill a vacancy in any of the paint workshops.
  5. Prior to a position being allocated to a prisoner, the appropriate work area supervisor may interview the prisoner to ascertain suitability;
  6. An assessment must be sought from Offender Health Services if an Offender Employment Information form indicated that there may be a medical condition precluding him or her from available employment which he or she was allocated;
  7. The facility's Intel unit must review the proposed employment position and record if there are any concerns or other relevant factors relating to safety and security; and
  8. The relevant clearances and assessments must be recorded in IOMS and, if the application is successful, it must be approved by the appropriate manager. The prisoner must be informed and employed as soon as practicable.

2.2 IOMS

Employment records must be maintained in IOMS to assist-

  1. offender management with comprehensive employment information and case notes;
  2. the gathering of accurate statistics for reporting purposes;
  3. accuracy of waiting lists, vacancies etc; and
  4. correct employment incentive payments to prisoners.

3. Employment transfer / change

  1. Unless there is serious reason for a transfer (eg. transfer to a critical job which has become vacant), a prisoner is not eligible to request a transfer from his/her allocated job until he/she has completed four weeks in that employment;
  2. A prisoner wishing to transfer between work areas must complete the transfer application form. Note: A prisoner approved for transfer to a new employment position will be remunerated at the level of the new position and that this may be less than the previous held position. Refer administrative form - Offender Employment Transfer Application (example)
  3. Both the current and receiving work area supervisors must agree to the transfer.
  4. The normal employment placement process is followed with the receiving work area supervisor or nominated officer responsible for-

    1. ensuring the entering of details in IOMS; and
    2. obtaining necessary clearances;

  5. a nominated officer may initiate a prisoner's employment transfer for the good order or efficient operation of the facility and must ensure IOMS is updated.

4. Workplace health and safety

Refer procedures - Workplace Health and Safety (in-confidence); Workplace Health and Safety (in-confidence) Committees (in-confidence)

  1. The work area supervisor is responsible for providing the employed prisoner with a workplace induction. The prisoner is required to sign a document outlining the contents of the specific induction provided. This is to be recorded and noted in IOMS. If the prisoner refuses to sign the document, it must be noted in IOMS and the prisoner will not be placed in that job.
  2. The work area supervisor must provide the necessary personal protection equipment with instructions on the requirement of its use and maintenance.

4.1 Prisoner working conditions

The general manager of the facility must provide for the monitoring of prisoner's working conditions to ensure levels of noise, heat, physically demanding work and excessive, continuous hours do not have negative health or safety ramifications. The general manager of the facility must ensure that all relevant provisions of workplace health and safety legislation are complied with at all times. Except when in response to exceptional circumstances, prisoners should not be permitted to work-

  1. double shifts, and
  2. more than seven shifts per week.

4.2 Bulk store

  1. Prisoner allocations to work in the bulk store in a secure centre must be referred to the workplace health and safety committee;
  2. The workplace health and safety committee must make a recommendation for consideration by the proper authority.
  3. No prisoners will be permitted to commence work in the bulk store without an assessment by the workplace health and safety committee.

5. Payments

5.1 Hygiene allowance

  1. The hygiene allowance is not payable in the first two weeks to a prisoner on remand or on initial reception. However the prisoner must receive a hygiene pack. Refer procedure - Admission
  2. The hygiene allowance is a weekly allowance and may not be granted on a pro rata basis.

5.2 Unemployment allowance

Unemployment allowance is only paid on a Monday to Friday working week basis and must only be paid to prisoners who are willing to comply with their ORP, engage in employment and rehabilitative programs (if applicable) and-

  1. who are temporarily or permanently medically unfit for employment (a medical certificate or medical officer's opinion must be provided); or
  2. for whom a work position is not available, including those on safety orders or 'at risk'.

Refer procedures - At-Risk Management (Self Harm/Suicide); standard operating procedure - Safety Orders

Prisoners on remand are not required to be employed and must be paid unemployment allowance if they choose not to work.

5.3 Support allowance

Support allowance is paid to employed prisoners who cannot work for an acceptable reason. Refer appendix - Payment for Absent Employed Prisoners

5.4 Attendance sheets

The work area supervisor must complete an Attendance Sheet for each prisoner as directed by the general manager of the facility, to record movement in and out of work areas. Such timesheets etc must be utilised to calculate payments to prisoners.

5.5 Frequency of payment

Incentive payments must be paid weekly to all prisoners entitled to its receipt.

Payments must be authorised by the appropriate financial delegate within the institution and processed in accordance with procedure - Prisoner Monies.

Refer Instrument of Financial and Travel Delegations (Department of Community Safety) (in-confidence)

5.6 Public holidays

  1. Prisoners must not be paid the incentive payment rates for a public holiday if they do not work that day;
  2. If the facility closes a work area for a public holiday, prisoners working in that area will receive the support allowance.

5.7 Industrial action

Prisoners must not be paid for shifts if they participate in prisoner strikes involving withdrawal of labour.

Incentive payments must be paid if-

  1. prisoners' work is affected by industrial action by officers or employees of the Agency;
  2. the diversion of officers to other custodial duties;
  3. machinery breakdowns, or
  4. work is not available due to unsafe conditions outside the prisoner's control.

5.8 Prisoner health, sick leave, absenteeism

If a prisoner is deemed unfit for work after examination by Offender Health Services staff, the prisoner must present his or her work area supervisor with a medical certificate on the next working day.

If medically unfit for work the prisoner will, on presentation of a medical certificate, be paid the support allowance for that day.

When a prisoner fails to obtain a medical certificate for absent days he or she must not be paid and must not receive support allowance for that day/s. The work area supervisor may also consider the prisoner for suspension/termination from employment.

If the prisoner is deemed medically unfit to work for a period in excess of a week, the prisoner's employment must be reviewed by referring the matter to the multidisciplinary team.

6. Suspension from employment

6.1 Grounds for suspension

A prisoner may be suspended immediately in the following instances-

  1. dangerous workplace practice;
  2. sabotage to plant, equipment, materials, work in progress or finished product;
  3. behaviour that adversely affects the safety and security of the facility / workshop; or
  4. abusive, threatening or disruptive behaviour.

6.2 Suspension process

Refer procedure - Incident Reporting

If suspended, the relevant officer must-

  1. refer the matter to the multi disciplinary team for consideration as soon as possible;
  2. return the prisoner to his/her accommodation area pending a decision from the general manager or nominee whether to terminate the employment;
  3. notify the relevant accommodation manager and correctional supervisor;
  4. document the suspension by filling out the facility's suspension / termination form detailing the reasons for the termination (refer administrative form - Employment Suspension - Termination Report (example));
  5. note the suspension in the prisoner's IOMS file as a case note, recommending the period and conditions of the suspension made to the relevant manager;
  6. advise the trust accounts officer to cease incentive payment for the specified time during which the support allowance is paid;
  7. forward a copy of the suspension / termination report to the nominated officer/employment officer who will update the employment details in IOMS;
  8. forward a copy of the facility suspension / termination report form to facility sentence management for attachment to the offender file (refer administrative form - Employment Suspension - Termination Report (example); and
  9. notify the prisoner using the facility suspension / termination advice form (refer administrative form - Employment Suspension - Termination Advice (example)).

7. Prisoner behaviour affecting incentive payment rates

Any unacceptable behaviour (not limited to breaches of discipline) by a prisoner must be considered at the multidisciplinary team meeting.

Minimum standards of behaviour and work performance are required by prisoners who wish to maintain or increase their current position and incentive payment rate. Unacceptable behaviour or work performance may incur the penalty of being placed in lower level employment positions (and receiving a lower level incentive payment rate).

7.1 Prisoners undertaking programs

Prisoners must attend programs identified in their Offender Rehabilitation Plan (ORP).

In the structured day schedule at secure centres, prisoners should participate in prescribed criminogenic programs in the period they are not participating in employment. In the rare occasion where a conflict between work and attendance at a recommended program is unavoidable, the prisoner will be able to attend the program and continue to be paid.

Prisoners must not receive additional incentive payments for undertaking training / programs.

Prisoners who refuse to participate in programs prescribed by their ORP may incur the penalty of being placed in lower level employment positions (and therefore receive a lower level incentive payment rate). Any non-compliance with a prisoner's ORP must be considered at the multidisciplinary team meetings.

In low security, the general manager must ensure that employment arrangements are flexible enough to allow a prisoner to attend programs that have been identified as essential to the prisoner's ORP (refer procedure - Review).

Refer procedure - Planning

7.2 Poor work performance

If there is reasonable belief that a prisoner has not fulfilled the basic requirements of the position as described in the position description, the work area supervisor must interview the prisoner displaying poor work performance and/or unacceptable behaviour. The interview must identify the areas relating to the prisoner's poor performance. If possible, the following should be considered -

  1. strategies the prisoner can use to improve performance;
  2. agreement by the prisoner to undertake these strategies to improve performance; and
  3. suspension or termination from work pending ratification from the multidisciplinary team.

Work area supervisors must document the interview on the prisoner's IOMS file as a case note.

The work area supervisor may refer the matter to the multidisciplinary team.

7.3 Breaches of discipline

Breaches of discipline must be dealt with in accordance with the procedure - Breaches of Discipline.

An officer who issues an employed prisoner with a breach of discipline can not enforce any penalty in regards to the prisoner's incentive payment level.

If an employed prisoner's behaviour at any time results in a breach of discipline, the officer issuing the breach must advise the Correctional Supervisor who must refer the matter to the multidisciplinary team for consideration.

8. Multidisciplinary team

The multidisciplinary team must be convened to-

  1. consider the prisoner's behaviour and work performance;
  2. review the prisoner's report (eg. medically unfit to work, suspension);
  3. review the relevant prisoner's offender file (including compliance with ORP and any breaches of discipline);
  4. provide the general manager or nominee with a report outlining the relevant issues, recommending an appropriate action (Examples of recommended actions include: to penalise or promote a prisoner; to suspend a prisoner for a definite period with or without unemployment allowance; to terminate employment with or without unemployment allowance; to incur the penalty of being placed in lower level employment position);
  5. consider any impact on pay entitlements that arise from the Committee's decision, and
  6. ensure the implementation of the general manager or nominee's decision (eg. to penalise or promote a prisoner), recording the reasons for the decision and advising the prisoner accordingly.

9. Job descriptions

The rate of incentive payment for each position must be determined by development and analysis of a job description and evaluation in terms of-

  1. experience and knowledge required;
  2. standard of behaviour required;
  3. level of responsibility / trust / initiative required;
  4. level of skill and ability required;
  5. level of supervision; and
  6. requirement to complete essential programs identified in the prisoner's ORP.

(Refer appendix - Offender Standard Job Description)

The job description and associated rate of incentive payment must be approved by the chief executive or delegate (refer CSA s. 316(1); Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence)).

A prisoner may only be promoted or transferred into a higher level of incentive payment if the prisoner meets the requirements of the job description and when an appropriately classified position becomes available.

9.1 Duty statements

Each corrective services facility must develop duty statements for each position in their employment profile.

Duty statements must detail how some or all of the key tasks as outlined in the standard job descriptions will be performed in the particular facility.

Duty statements are essential to justify a particular job being classified at a particular level in facilities' employment profiles.

Duty statements are to be approved by the general manager or delegate and reflected in the job details in IOMS

Refer appendix - Duty Statement (example)

10. Employment profiles

Each corrective services facility must have an approved employment profile that sets out the number of positions available in each area and the level of incentive payment that is applicable to each of those positions. The approved employment profiles are listed below-

  1. Employment Profile - Arthur Gorrie (in-confidence)
  2. Employment Profile - Borallon (in-confidence)
  3. Employment Profile - Brisbane (in-confidence)
  4. Employment Profile - Brisbane (in-confidence) Women's (in-confidence)
  5. Employment Profile - Capricornia (in-confidence)
  6. Employment Profile - Darling Downs (in-confidence)
  7. Employment Profile - Helena Jones (in-confidence)
  8. Employment Profile - Lotus Glen (in-confidence)
  9. Employment Profile - Maryborough (in-confidence)
  10. Employment Profile - Numinbah (in-confidence)
  11. Employment Profile - Palen Creek (in-confidence)
  12. Employment Profile - Townsville (in-confidence)
  13. Employment Profile - Wolston (in-confidence)
  14. Employment Profile - Woodford (in-confidence)

Employment profiles must not be permanently altered without the approval of the chief executive or delegate. Any requested changes to a facility's employment profile must be considered and endorsed by the Prisoner Employment Governance Committee (PEGC).

Endorsed by:


Executive Director, Offender Intervention Services

Approved by:

Acting Commissioner

Version History

05/11/2011 Version 05 - 22/07/2010 Version 03 - 01/03/2010 Version 02 [Employment of Offenders] - 28/08/2006 Version 01 [Remuneration]