Brutal reality of our prisons revealed
THIS is the face of Queensland's jail crisis.
Overcrowding and angrier prisoners have led to savage staff bashings, officers say.
Prison officer Greg was coward punched and repeatedly kicked by a prisoner at Woodford jail after he told him he had to share a cell.
Greg was flown to hospital in a serious condition with multiple fractures to his nose, cheek, eye sockets and jaw and has undergone surgery after the assault last month.
"This is the reality of what these men and women face every day," Together Union industrial services director Michael Thomas told The Courier-Mail. "They're husbands, they're wives, they're mums and dads and they go to work.
"No one deserves to go to work and go home via the emergency department. This is the reality of our prisons. They are overcrowded, assaults are on the increase and our officers aren't punching bags and shouldn't be punching bags."
The Crime and Corruption Commission Taskforce Flaxton report into jail corruption last month found there had been increased assaults in prisons due to overcrowding.
It said overcrowding was a corruption risk and negatively affected prison operation and "doubling up" of prisoners undermined safety and could lead to further criminalisation.
When prisoners "double up", one often lies on a mattress on the floor, or in bunks. Woodford jail has about 1420 prisoners but is built for about 980.
Most jails in the state are over cell capacity - 1950 prisoners over in November - but the government is yet to commit to funding any new jail.
A business case was made for a 1000-bed jail at Gatton, however the Government has not said if it will go ahead. There has also been a business case to expand Arthur Gorrie.
Officer colleagues said Greg was a hardworking employee, had a family and his life had changed because of the bashing.
"Officers should be able to have a safe workplace as every other person has a right to," Mr Thomas said. "It's a stark reminder government must act."
The Government has rolled out more than 1000 new bunk beds and has announced $15 million for another 1000 new beds but officers say that is not the solution as aggressive crims are fed up with sharing facilities.
Together Union branch secretary Alex Scott said the Government needed to make decisions about the long-term direction of the system.
"Prisons are overcrowded as they are, they (staff) go to work every day wondering if this is going to be them or worse."
A State Government spokesman said: "By 2020-21, we will have delivered up to 3000 new beds in prisons across Queensland."