WHEN is a place of imprisonment a high
security jail and when is it just another place where
criminals are locked up?
The difference may be a matter of
interpretation that depends more on the need for media spin
than a clear definition.
Or perhaps the one place can be two things
at the same time.
On March 7 at 9.19am the Daily sent the
following question to the office of Attorney General Jarrod
"Can the Minister/department explain why
the VLAD prisoner unit at Woodford Prison has folded? My
understanding is that VLAD prisoners were being held in a
52-bed unit set aside for that purpose?"
At 3.22pm on the same day Ron McDonald the
acting principal media officer for the Communications
Services Branch of the Department of Justice and the
Attorney General sent the following reply
"Please find below a statement regarding
Woodford Correctional Centre, as requested. Please attribute
to a spokesperson for Queensland Corrective Services:
"The Restricted Management Unit at the
Woodford Correctional Centre has not been closed. As
planned, prisoners who are participants in a criminal
organisation will continue to be incarcerated there.
"The numbers of incarcerated prisoners
will fluctuate over time. As prisoners cut their ties to
criminal organisations they will be moved back into the
general prison population. Members of the general prison
population are also sometimes held in the unit when it is
not near its capacity."
The question about the closure had been
put on the basis of a news tip the foundation of which
though not known at the time can now be revealed.
Its basis was the following email, altered
to include in brackets interpretations of prison speak) sent
to all Woodford Prison staff on March 5 by its general
manager Scott Collins.
"There remains one prisoner in the unit
(Restricted Movement Unit) who is identified by Queensland
Police Service as being considered an identified participant
in a criminal organisation and subject to a COSO (Criminal
Organisation Segregation Order).
"He is currently being allowed his natural
justice period before a final determination is made.
Regardless there are only a handful at this time across the
state who are subject to this process and potentially
require a COSO.
"Hence effective from tomorrow (March 6)
the RMU (Restricted Movement Unit) will be referred to as P3
again (its old name) and revert to the following prisoners.
"Prisoners on COSO, prisoners pending a
COSO, mainstream prisoners. All other staff are to be
redeployed until training for the MSU (maximum security
"P3 will begin taking prisoners tomorrow
at a rate that allows some short-term relief from double ups
(overcrowding in other sections of the prison)."
Mr Scott's email appears to confirm
earlier questions put by the Daily about overcrowding within
the gaol with some prisoners required to sleep on the floor
on mattresses and to store belongings in boxes.
Independent Member for Nicklin has sought
and been refused on security grounds permission to inspect
the facility outside Caboolture.