Prisoners help Queensland prepare for Cyclone Jasper
Low risk prisoners at Innisfail Work Camp are playing an important role in helping the town prepare for Cyclone Jasper, assisting the SES and Cassowary Coast Regional Council.
The prisoners have been working in the community to prepare for storm season, clearing drains and gutters and cutting trees to prevent major damage. They are now filling sandbags for the SES and are available to the Council to assist further as required.
Queensland Corrective Services’ Work Camp Program provides valuable labour for community service projects across regional Queensland as a pathway for successful prisoner rehabilitation.
In 2022-23, prisoners on the Work Camp Program completed 147,989 hours of community service, the equivalent to $4.25 million in labour supporting regional Queensland.
Other correctional centres are also assisting in the preparations, with prisoners at Maryborough Correctional Centre filling sandbags for the SES.
Quotes attributable to Eloise Hamlett ACM, Assistant Commissioner, Central and Northern Command QCS:
“Queensland Corrective Services has an important role in supporting disaster management groups across Queensland prepare for and clean up after weather events, and work camps are key to providing crucial labour where it is needed most.
“Innisfail Work Camp has helped the community prepare and rebuild after each cyclone since 2006 and we are proud to continue providing that assistance.
“Our QCS officers also work tirelessly with their work camp teams throughout the year and I thank them for their commitment and dedication to their important roles.”
Quotes attributable to Colin Watson, Innisfail Work Camp Supervisor, QCS:
“We have well-established plans in place to provide labour to the Innisfail region in times of need.
“Giving back to the community is fundamental to the rehabilitation of prisoners and the team here is ready and on-hand to help out where needed.
“Over the past few weeks, they have been busy clearing drains and cutting trees, and are now working with the SES to fill sandbags to protect buildings and homes.
“This reparation to the community develops a work ethic and sense of worth in prisoners that sets them up for a positive reintegration back into the community.”
Quotes attributable to Mark Nolan, Cassowary Coast Mayor:
“The Innisfail Work Camp has been a great contributor to the Cassowary Coast through our community amenity projects, and their support has been gratefully received.
“At times of emergency we need all hands on deck, and it’s comforting to know that the Work Camp crew is on stand-by to assist should the need arise.
“On behalf of Council I extend our gratitude for their contributions to date, and ongoing support into the future.”
Innisfail Work Camp is aligned to Lotus Glen Correction Centre. It was initially established to assist with the clean-up after Cyclone Larry in 2006, and since then has played a significant role in the preparation and recovery for the region’s severe storms and cyclones.
In 2014 they were deployed to Cooktown after Cyclone Ida devastated the town and helped the community to rebuild.
For latest information, warnings and advice on cyclone preparation, visit:
- Find your Local Disaster Dashboard: getready.qld.gov.au/find-your-local-council
- More info on how to plan ahead: getready.qld.gov.au/getting-ready/cyclones#cyclones-and-storms-and-flooding
- Bureau of Meteorology: bom.gov.au/cyclone/
- ABC local radio: abc.net.au/local
Interview with Doug, Correctional Manager at Lotus Glen Correctional Centre: Cyclone Jasper Preparedness
Innisfail Work Camp Supervisor Colin: Prisoners filling sandbags in preparation for Cyclone Jasper (49 seconds)
Innisfail Work Camp Supervisor Colin: Work Camp has assisted with cyclone clean ups since Cyclone Larry in 2006 (30 seconds)
Innisfail Work Camp Supervisor Colin: Prisoners giving back to the community as part of rehabilitation. (1 minute 20 seconds)