Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) has provided an update on its response to the increased transmission of COVID-19.
The update follows changes to QCS’ staged planning response, including revised measures and mitigation strategies applied in each stage. See the revised QCS COVID-19 planning tools.
Current stage settings – correctional centres
As at 8 January 2022, in accordance with Queensland Health advice, the following centres moved to Stage 3:
- Arthur Gorrie CC, Brisbane CC, and Lotus Glen CC
Key Stage 3 requirements include –
Visits to prisons
Personal and professional (including legal) visits are suspended, with contacts via phone and video conferencing utilised in the alternative.
- Production of prisoners for court attendance can continue where the court requires the in-person appearance. However, the use of video link appearances in order to minimise risk related to the movement of prisoners, remains preferred.
- Prisoners impacted by COVID-19 exposure or diagnoses may be subject to Queensland Health advice that will prevent movement from their accommodation. QCS will remain advised by Queensland Health of the ability for the prisoner to attend court appearances in these circumstances.
Quarantine of prisoners
Any prisoner received into a correctional centre, including from a watchhouse or court, is required to quarantine for a cumulative 14-day period in a single cell insofar as is practicable and subject to Queensland Health advice. This applies to any prisoner who attends court and then returns to the centre. The timeframe would also reset upon any movement out of the centre (including for court) if moved during an existing quarantine period (for daily trial attendance for example).
As at 8 January 2022, all other correctional centres in Queensland remain in Stage 2, where the above court attendance and quarantine provisions apply, however visits continue. Specifically –
Visits to prisons
- Both personal and professional (including legal) visits to correctional centres continue.
- However, there are currently a number of secure centres which have exercised delegation to cease personal visits to prisoners out of current operational need due to staff resourcing impacts related to COVID-19 exposures.
- Visits will not be permitted for those who have been overseas in the last 14 days, who have had contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or those showing symptoms of cold/flu/respiratory illness or a greater than 38 degree temperature.
Current statewide requirements
Masks are currently mandatory and must be worn by any visitor to any correctional centre in Queensland.
- Personal visitors must now be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination status each time they visit.
- Professional (including legal) visitors, must now have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine and will be required to be fully vaccinated by 11.59pm on 23 January 2022 to enter any centre in line with the Chief Health Officer’s ‘COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Workers in a high-risk setting Direction’. Proof of vaccination status will be required on each visit and can be in written or electronic form (including the Check in App).
Video conferencing (VC)
Ongoing and increased demand on VC is expected, and all efforts will be made to ensure the ongoing availability of VC to meet the expected demand, and that prisoners are produced to suites when required. As at today, existing VC equipment is at full functionality with no devices offline. In order to ensure the most effective use of VC within existing capacity, it is respectfully requested of those service providers who use Go Bookings (including court staff and legal entities) that:
- when bookings are made, adequate time is allocated
- that times of bookings made are adhered to. If delays or more time needed is expected, timely notification to QCS is appreciated.
- that changes to existing bookings are limited where it is possible to do so
- that any cancellations to bookings are made at the earliest possible time.
Current stage settings – Community Corrections
As at today, 10 January 2022, all Community Corrections locations in Queensland move to Stage 3. Matters of relevance include –
- The use of face-to-face reporting with supervised individuals will be limited, informed by proper risk assessment, with alternate methods of contact (including VC and phone) used.
- Internally delivered programs and interventions to supervised individuals are suspended with alternate remote arrangements used where viable.
- Community service work continues only where permitted by community restrictions.
- In the event of any necessary short-term closures of Community Corrections offices due to COVID-19 related business disruption, local stakeholders will be promptly informed.
Court advisory services
Community Corrections staff remain available for necessary court advisory services and contravention proceedings, and will seek remote attendance to perform this function, unless otherwise directed by the court.
The current operating environment remains very dynamic and ongoing staffing impacts related to COVID-19 will be expected, however continued focus remains on ensuring service to the courts. The above will remain in place until further notice and on Queensland Health advice with further changes likely.