It is very concerning that the Queensland Labor Government is taking a regressive step, mimicking the LNP and following their plan to expand Queensland’s prison system. All credible research indicates that prevention is a much more cost efficient way to deal with youth offending and will also result in creating a safer community.
Instead of adding almost 500 new beds to the prison system, the Government should be looking at releasing all non-violent prisoners who are in prison for minor offences and those on remand. The hundreds of millions of dollars that will cost the Queensland tax payer to operate the Borallon facility could be spent on rehabilitation and integration in the community.
Borallon prison is more a death camp than a training facility. Farrin Vetters was just 26 years old when he hung himself in a Borallon jail cell in October 2011. He took a sheet and hung it from what Queensland Coroner Terry Ryan recently described as a hanging point.
Coroner Terry Ryan’s findings into Mr Vetters death were released less than two months ago. Mr Ryan noted it was "tragic" that Mr Vetters had access to a hanging point 20 years after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommended their removal. He stated that there are no plans to invest the millions of dollars required to eliminate the hanging points in nearly half of Borallon’s 492 cells.
Mr Ryan said given suicidal thoughts were often fleeting or periodic, "barring access to a ready means of suicide should be paramount in any prevention strategy”.
Borallan was shut down soon after Mr Vetters' death in a long-planned decommissioning of the site and prisoners were transferred to other Correctional Centres.
In November 2011, the Labor Shadow Correctional Services Minister Bill Byrne said, “if Borallon were to re-open, it would be an act of desperation by an administration losing control.”
CONTACT: Siyavash Doostkhah, Director, Youth Affairs Network of Queensland
Phone: 0407 655 785 Email: email@example.com