$241M expansion: Prisoners to move into new cells this week
A NEW section of the $241 million expansion of Capricornia Correctional Centre was officially opened today.
Minister for Correctional Services Mark Ryan and Commissioner Peter Martin were joined by Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga, Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke and other delegates for the official opening ceremony of secure units 11 and 12.
Minister Ryan said the secure units would house prisoners at the correctional centre within the next week.
He said the units added 100 cells to correctional capacity, which was a “very important” addition to overall capacity at the prison.
He said the residential units and detention unit would also be complete and open in about one month.
“We are almost finished the residential units, which will add hundreds more to bed capacity,” he said.
“There will be about 950 beds at the prison, with extra staff to ensure those prisoners are adequately supervised.
“Other than the expansion around other facilities, such as the kitchen and laundry space, that will be the majority of the accommodation completed.”
He said there were capacity constraints right across the system, with the expansion at Capricornia Correctional Centre to be used to not only manage capacity within the correctional centre itself, but other prisons across the state.
“There are some prisoners here who aren’t currently housed in an individual cell, which is why this expansion is so important,” he said.
“It provides that extra capacity here and ensures that extra capacity across the system.”
He said the project had also given the local economy a significant boost, with hundreds of people employed during construction and 232 full-time permanent ongoing jobs created as a result of the expansion.
“Hundreds of people will get full-time permanent ongoing jobs when the correctional centre expansion is commissioned in its entirety next year, with a broad variety of jobs up for grabs,” he said.
Mr O’Rourke encouraged Rockhampton residents looking for work to get online and apply for those jobs.
“It is so important for our local economy that these 232 permanent full-time jobs be filled by people here in Rockhampton,” he said.
Ms Lauga said the project had generated an important economic stimulus in the Central Queensland region over the past couple of years through the jobs it created and local businesses that got to work on the expansion.
She said the expansion also played an important role in keeping the community safe.
“The walls and the fence are about making sure the people who do the crime do the time,” she said.
“But we also want to make sure offenders who end up in a facility like this are rehabilitated.
“I am proud of the work the correctional officers in this facility do to help rehabilitate those offenders. When they leave, they go on to be better citizens than what they were when they entered.”
Mr Martin said, with about 9000 people in custody across the state, the extra capacity at Capricornia Correctional Centre was “critically needed”.
The number of prisoners at Capricornia Correctional Centre is 620 as at August 4, including the farm and workcamps.
“Every day we work to not only hold prisoners accountable, but to get the best outcomes and make those people better citizens when they leave our custody and care,” he said.
“We use the infrastructure we currently have to get the best outcomes, however, that infrastructure is being overtaxed by the demand we have in holding those 9000 people accountable for their past deeds.
“This extra capability at Capricornia is critically needed because it gets the best humane outcomes for individuals in our custody and gives us a significant opportunity to make these people better citizens, invest in programs that de-escalate their offending behaviour, and put them in industries and effective work that will make them job ready when they leave.”