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Procedure Properties

Title: Detention Units
Category: Safety and Security
Version: 03
Implement Date: 15 August 2008
Application: Custodial Operations
Availability: Public


Appendices and Forms


Local Procedures

  • Capricornia - Detention Unit (in-confidence)
  • Lotus Glen - Detention Unit (in-confidence)
  • Woodford - Safety Order (in-confidence)


Performance Measures

  • Nil

Procedure - Detention Units

1.Accommodation in detention unit
1.1Breach of discipline
1.2Safety order
2.Duties of officers carrying out duties in a detention unit
4.Daily routine
5.Authorised access
6.Specialist staff
7.Minimum requirements
11.Video/audio tapes and archiving
12.Code of conduct


To ensure consistent management of prisoners accommodated in a detention unit within a corrective services facility.

1. Accommodation in detention unit

1.1 Breach of discipline

A detention unit provides for the accommodation of a prisoner who has been found to have committed a breach of discipline and has been ordered to undergo a period of separate confinement.

1.2 Safety order

A detention unit may also provide accommodation for a prisoner if the chief executive has made a safety order in respect of the prisoner under section 53 of the Corrective Services Act 2006 (CSA).

Refer CSA ss 53-58; Corrective Services Regulation 2006 (CSR) ss 8-9 and procedure - Safety Orders

2. Duties of officers carrying out duties in a detention unit

Officers carrying out duties in a detention unit must ensure that-

  1. regular unit patrols are conducted during the shift;
  2. significant behavioural observations or change to the prisoner's status is recorded and reported to the relevant supervisor;
  3. the prisoner's cell is searched before and after the completion of the prisoner's placement in a detention unit;
  4. each cell and all security fittings are searched at least once a day;
  5. bars and mesh fitted to all cells, windows and exercise yards and other common areas are examined and tapped or checked during unlock and lock away;
  6. a prisoner leaving or entering a detention unit is searched in accordance with CSA ss 33-40;
  7. a search requiring the removal of clothing under this procedure must be preceded by another less intrusive search;
  8. a prisoner subject to a safety order must not be subject to a search requiring the removal of clothing unless the general manager is satisfied that the search is justified in the circumstances or as required by Direction for a Search Requiring the Removal of Clothing of Prisoners. Refer CSA ss 35-36;
  9. all items, including meals, are searched before entry into a detention unit; and
  10. prisoners providing goods and services must not be granted access to the unit and must be closely monitored at all times.

3. Records

A file must be established for a prisoner placed in a detention unit. The file must include-

  1. the prisoner's personal details;
  2. the date the prisoner was placed in the unit;
  3. the reason the prisoner was placed in the unit;
  4. a copy of any authorisation placing the prisoner in the unit;
  5. indication of any review date or statutory assessments; and
  6. daily entries of the prisoner's behaviour and any relevant sentence management data.

A supervisor must check the file of each prisoner placed in the detention unit once during his/her shift or as required under any observation regime. This check should assess information recorded on the file and whether further action needs to be taken for individual cases.

The contents of the file must be transferred to the prisoner's offender file when the period of detention is completed.

A supervisor must ensure that any officer entering the unit is aware of his/her responsibility for entering details in case files and the unit log book as required.

Refer procedures - Gate Books, Log Books and Registers; Offender File Management (excluding Medical File) (in-confidence)

4. Daily routine

The general manager must document the daily routine and privileges for prisoners detained in the detention unit. Refer appendices - Daily Routine Detention Unit; Behaviour Requirements Separate Confinement; Detention Unit Prisoner Accommodation Conditions Sheet

5. Authorised access

Only those persons authorised by the general manager may access a detention unit.

6. Specialist staff

The general manager must determine and provide for the required level of intervention by specialist staff and their access to the unit.

7. Minimum requirements

The general manager must specify the minimum requirements for staff accessing a cell and escort arrangements, which take into account the reasons for detention.

8. Privileges

The general manager must provide for a prisoner's needs in accordance with the reason for his/her confinement in a detention unit. Subject to the safety and security of a corrective services facility, consideration must be given for access to-

  1. property (items in cell);
  2. use of plastic plates and cutlery;
  3. telephone calls, mail, visits;
  4. exercise;
  5. smoking; and
  6. programs, activities, and services.

For further details regarding a prisoner undergoing separate confinement refer CSR s 5; appendix - Authorised Property Separate Confinement and At Risk Observations.

9. Search

Refer procedure - Search - Prisoners and Corrective Services Facilities and Direction for a Search Requiring the Removal of Clothing of Prisoners

10. Medical

A prisoner detained in the detention unit under this procedure must be examined by a doctor in compliance with CSA ss 57 (safety order), 121 (separate confinement).

Officers must immediately refer any medical needs of a detention unit prisoner to the Queensland Health Nurse Unit Manager and/or registered nurse. The Nurse Unit Manager must be responsible for ensuring that referred medical needs are met.

The general manager or nominee, in consultation with the Nurse Unit Manager, where applicable, may determine more frequent services in accordance with a prisoner's medical needs or the operational needs of the facility. A record of that consultation must be placed in the unit log and recorded on the prisoner's file as listed in section 3 of this procedure.

If a prisoner requires medical treatment that cannot be provided in the detention unit, the prisoner must be removed to the Queensland Health centre located within the facility with the approval of the general manager.

11. Video/audio tapes and archiving

The general manager of the corrective services facility must provide for the use and storage of video/audio tapes used in a detention unit and account for all tapes used in a register containing the following information-

  1. time, day and date of changing of tapes;
  2. identification marking of tapes inserted;
  3. recording dates and times;
  4. rotation and storage of all VCR/audio tapes; and
  5. name and signature of the unit or accommodation or supervising officer who changed the tape.

All VCR tapes, audio tapes, registers and log books must be archived under the conditions specified in the Libraries Act 1988 and the Retention and Disposal Schedule.

Tapes, which depict the commission of an offence in a detention unit, must be treated as evidence and removed from circulation, secured and signed for by the general manager of the corrective services facility.

Refer procedure - Preservation of a Crime Scene and Evidence

12. Code of conduct

The general manager of a facility must ensure that all personnel operating closed circuit television monitoring and recording devices are instructed on and acknowledge the intent of the Agency's Code of Conduct and procedure - Use of Information and Communication Technology Facilities and Devices.

Neil Whittaker
Acting Director-General

Version History

15/08/2008 Version 03 - 28/08/2006 Version 02 - 12/12/2002 Version 01 - 01/07/2001 Version 00