Consequences for prisoners who assault staff
Your delegates, along with Secretary Alex Scott and Director Michael Thomas from the union office, have met with Minister Mark Ryan on a number of occasions over the issue of overcrowding and resulting rises in assaults and incidents. At one of the first meetings we discussed the fact the tools that you once had available to manage prisoner behaviour – breaches, DUs etc - simply don't work anymore and that there was no effective penalty for a prisoner assaulting a Custodial Officer.
That is no longer the case.
In addition to the legislation that increases maximum sentences for assaulting a Custodial Officer (the same penalties as apply to Ambos and Hospital workers) the Minister has announced changes to the Parole Board guidelines to require the Board to take into account such assaults when considering the prisoner’s suitability for parole. The Minister’s announcement includes the following statement:
“In line with the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to ensure the safety of frontline correctional officers, the guidelines, for the first time, also require the parole board to specifically consider a prisoner’s suitability for parole in light of the prisoner’s behaviour in prison including whether the prisoner has committed any assaults or participated in altercations against correctional centre staff.
The Palaszczuk Government does not tolerate violence against our staff - if a prisoner is violent in custody then the parole board must seriously consider their suitability to be managed safely in the community,” Minister Ryan said.”
(A copy of the full statement can be found here.)
This will mean there are real consequences for prisoners who assault staff and is a good first step.
We continue to meet with the Minister to discuss better equipment, facilities and procedures to deal with overcrowding and we believe this announcement will be the first of many.
Our ability to seek these improvements is a direct result of the strength of our union and the work of your delegates.
Make sure you get your colleagues on board and continue to build that strength. Forward them this email and ask them to join your union.