Assault sentence and officer safety: Commissioner

Queensland Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Martin APM today acknowledged the sentence handed down to a prisoner who assaulted a custodial correctional officer at Woodford Correctional Centre last December.

The prisoner received an additional three years and six months to his prison term after being convicted of grievous bodily harm. He won’t be eligible for parole until February 2021.

Commissioner Peter Martin said that the assault was one of the worst seen in a Queensland prison in many years.

“Officer safety is our absolute priority, and cowardly and despicable assaults of this nature on our officers are simply not acceptable.

“The court’s decision reflects that front line public safety officers should be able to do their work without the fear of assault in their workplace.

“Our officers are the true front line of public safety, managing the most difficult members of our society. To the extent we are able to, we as an employer are committed to reducing the risks they face every day as they work to keep community safe.

“A full review of officer safety (the Use of Force review) is being undertaken by QCS. This review is a belt and braces look at all aspects of safety – from equipment and technology, policy support and training.

“Additionally, the Better Safer Prisons project, looked at how to improve officer safety with a particular focus on reducing officer assaults at Woodford Correctional Centre.

“With the insight provided by the Taskforce Flaxton report, QCS is centralising and upskilling workplace health and safety staff to provide frontline officers with improved support and training, as well as putting in place rigorous oversight and review of assaults to identify organisational improvements.

“The court yesterday handed down a sentence in recognition that, just like other frontline public safety agencies, our officers should be safe from assault,” Commissioner Martin said.

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