First month of new technology initiatives a measure of success

Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) has seen a large uptake of several technological solutions into correctional centres over the past two months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of QCS’ pandemic response, a number of innovations have been introduced into centres to address the challenges from the pandemic restrictions.

These include the introduction of virtual personal visits, the prisoner email system and electronic transfers to prisoner accounts.

Deputy Commissioner Organisational Capability James Koulouris said that while the introduction of all these systems was fast-tracked by QCS’ response to the pandemic, there are many advantages to continuing them in a post COVID world.

“The way that we do business at QCS has had to change significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we can see from the uptake of these technologies in the community and in prisons that there are many benefits in continuing them,” Deputy Commissioner Koulouris said.

“While allowing prisoners to stay in contact with family during the cancellation of visits to prisons was the catalyst for fast tracking these channels, there are increased safety benefits for our officers’ safety and ease of operation and accessibility for both visitors and prisoners.

“Some of these technologies were identified in the Crime and Corruption Commission’s Taskforce Flaxton as ways of hardening Queensland’s prisons against corruption, and they were already being planned for rollout.

“The COVID-19 pandemic made it an imperative to fast-track these channels to allow prisoners with more ways to keep in touch with their families at this difficult time,” Deputy Commissioner Koulouris said.

Since April, over 2600 emails have been received by prisoners across the state, and over 2100 replies have been sent by prisoners.

For the month of May, over 800 virtual visits occurred across the state, averaging 34 minutes each, and 55 visit kiosks have been installed in prisons.

Since the introduction in April, over 1600 secure electronic funds transfers into prisoner’s trust accounts have occurred.