The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has launched Taskforce Flaxton to examine corruption and corruption risks in Queensland corrective services facilities.
“The CCC will conduct a public hearing to examine corruption and corruption risks in these facilities, and features of the legislative, policy and operational environment that enable corruption to occur,” CCC Chairperson Mr Alan MacSporran QC said.
“The CCC acknowledges working in these environments can be difficult. We have spoken with the Corrective Services Minister, Commissioner for Queensland Corrective Services, the relevant unions and private operators to explain how Taskforce Flaxton will identify ways to better prevent, detect and deal with corrupt conduct. Ultimately, Taskforce Flaxton will improve safety for staff, prisoners and visitors in these facilities.”
Police and Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan said he strongly supports the CCC’s decision to shine a light on Queensland’s correctional facilities.
“Queensland Corrective Services is now a stand-alone department and has a new leader in former Deputy Police Commissioner Dr Peter Martin APM who brings a wealth of experience, including his leadership of the Ethical Standards Command, to his new role.
“As Queensland Corrective Services enters a new era of reform, the time is right for the CCC, under the auspices of Taskforce Flaxton, to undertake this investigation,” Mr Ryan said.
Queensland Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Martin said the taskforce was undertaking an important body of work.
“I am supportive of any process which leads to better safety outcomes and support for our officers as they undertake a vitally important and challenging public service.
“The QCS will cooperate fully with the work of the taskforce. We are a transparent, learning organisation, and as a new department, it is a valuable process for us to have the CCC examine our processes and provide their expert advice as we build capacity and maturity,” Commissioner Martin said.
Together Union State Secretary Alex Scott and United Voice Union State Secretary Gary Bullock said the safety of correctional officers is paramount and both unions are supportive of any examination which leads to an improvement in the safety for correctional officers and improves the welfare of prisoners.
Senior management from private operators Serco and GEO Group Australia have also indicated their support for the inquiry.
Where potential corrupt conduct is identified, these matters may become the subject of separate investigations and not be a focus of the public hearing.
Taskforce Flaxton will focus on adult prisons and work camps in Queensland, including the two privately run facilities at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre and Southern Queensland Correctional Centre. At this stage, the CCC will not be examining corruption and corruption risks in community-based corrections (e.g. probation and parole) or youth detention.
The CCC intends to table a public report in Parliament at the conclusion of Taskforce Flaxton.
Further information about Taskforce Flaxton will be made available on the CCC’s website in the lead up to the hearing which is expected to be held in May. The hearing will be live-streamed.
For more information visit the Taskforce Flaxton website.