Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre eases restrictions
Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre will revert to Stage 3 restrictions today after the completion of the two week quarantine period following two officers testing positive to COVID-19.
This means that the centre remains closed to all but essential officers and visitors, but prisoners will be unlocked and resume a modified structured day.
More than 400 of the centres 530 officers and about 170 prisoners were placed in quarantine as a result of the cases. After two rounds of testing and no further positive cases amongst officers, the centre is easing restrictions, with prisoners being unlocked today to resume a modified structured day.
The decision to move to Stage 4 restrictions was not made lightly, and was done so on the advice of the Chief Health Officer and Queensland Health.
We appreciate that a two week lockdown is difficult and challenging for officers and prisoners alike, however the fact that we have not seen any positive cases amongst prisoners or further cases amongst staff shows that the measures taken were effective.
International experience shows that prison populations are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, both due to the confined living environment and the poorer health of prisoners than the general population. Prisons across the world have been ravaged by COVID-19, with many officers and prisoners losing their lives in outbreaks.
We are incredibly thankful that our measures, guided by the best advice of Queensland Health, have paid off.
Of course we cannot afford to be complacent, and while ever there is community transmission, we risk another incursion into our centres. This is why our South East Queensland Centres remain in Stage 3 restrictions, with all non-essential visits suspended.
I want to commend the work of our officers from across the agency for working together to support the operations of AGCC at this incredibly challenging time, and I welcome back the officers who have been in quarantine for the past two weeks.
The centre has been forensically cleaned a number of times during the lockdown, with a particular focus on officer’s stations and communal areas.
This is a remarkable effort, and while the past two weeks have been incredibly challenging both operationally and for our quarantined officers, the lack of new positive cases shows that our extreme measures of moving quickly to Stage 4 restrictions was a successful strategy.
I would like to thank everyone who has stepped in to assist AGCC during this time, and the officers who have been quarantined for following Queensland Health’s directions so successfully.
I would also like to acknowledge the families of prisoners, who have been very patient at this worrying time.
Operations at the QCS Academy, the other site affected by COVID-19 will recommence operations tomorrow.
This means that the status of our centres is as follows:
Stage 2 restrictions:
- Lotus Glen Correctional Centre
- Townsville Correctional Complex
- Capricornia Correctional Centre
Stage 3 restrictions:
- Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre
- Maryborough Correctional Centre
- Woodford Correctional Centre
- Numinbah Correctional Centre
- Helana Jones Centre
- Brisbane Correctional Centre
- Wolston Correctional Centre
- Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre
- Borallon Training and Correctional Centre
- Palen Creek Correctional Centre
- Southern Queensland Correctional Centre
- Escort and Security Branch
Commissioner Queensland Corrective Services
Peter Martin APM