The Southern Downs Steam Railway yard before dawn taken by Steven Kasper.
The Southern Downs Steam Railway yard before dawn taken by Steven Kasper. Contributed

Work camp prisoners improve skills through railway work

PRISONERS from the Warwick Work Camp are learning vocational skills that will improve job prospects, by cleaning the Southern Downs Steam Railway rolling stock.

Deputy general manager of Numinbah Correctional Centre Julie Steinheuer, who supervises the camp, said Queensland Corrective Services recognised the importance of community service as an opportunity for low-security prisoners to repay the community while developing extra skills.

"The women from the Warwick Work Camp regularly clean the heritage carriages, readying them for passengers, as well as helping maintain the station," she said.

"This is an excellent example of the QCS work program providing a benefit to the community while helping rehabilitate prisoners."

In 2017-18, prisoners on the work program completed 179,379 hours of community service, equating to approximately $4.52 million worth of labour provided to support regional Queensland.

Ms Steinheuer said the work program provided regional communities with a valuable source of labour, as the projects were unique to their location and community needs.

"The prisoners are working to a routine, building confidence and gaining vocational skills which will help them reintegrate upon release," she said.

'We know from international research that when prisoners are released into the community and have stable accommodation, social support and employment opportunities, they have the best chance of not reoffending, which makes the community safer for everyone."

SDSR President Peter Gregory said the work camp women were marvellous workers.

"I am always surprised by the quality of their work, and how quickly the women can get it done," he said.

The next SDSR excursion is scheduled for 29 June.

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