Responding to COVID-19 in correctional centres and community corrections
How are correctional centres responding to COVID-19?
Revised 17 November 2022
QCS seeks to preserve the integrity of the correctional environment by managing the spread of COVID-19 and limiting, as far as reasonably practicable, the impact on prisoners and the workforce. QCS COVID-19 policy and planning decisions, including the use of the optional controls in the below tool, are informed by Queensland Health advice, staff consultation and the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) Guidelines for COVID-19 outbreaks in correctional centres and detention facilities.
The three-level Pandemic Response Planning Tool provides flexibility for Chief Superintendents to apply and remove some controls as required by the nature and circumstances of any outbreak affecting their centre.
Baseline Level: Low level health and operational impacts
Even with low levels of health and operational impacts from COVID-19, there will be an ongoing need for basic infection prevention controls including hand and respiratory hygiene, physical distancing, screening and testing and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in accordance with QCS policy.
Standard Pandemic Response: Low/moderate level of health and operational impacts
Offers a series of optional controls that, based on the nature and circumstances of the outbreak, Chief Superintendents can apply in their correctional centre to suppress the spread of COVID-19 or support the safe and secure management of their centre.
Elevated Pandemic Response: High level of health and operational impacts
Offers a series of optional controls that, based on the nature and circumstances of the outbreak, an Assistant Commissioner may approve their use within the correctional centre to suppress the spread of COVID-19 or support the safe and secure management of their centre.
How are Community Corrections managing offenders during COVID-19?
Revised 24 December 2021
QCS is committed to reducing the risk of COVID-19 to employees and people under community supervision. Steps have been taken to reduce the impact of COVID-19, including to implement standard precautions of social distancing, careful cleaning of surfaces, hand hygiene practices, and coughing and sneezing etiquette.
A three-stage plan guides Community Corrections’ response to COVID-19. As the risk of COVID-19 increases or decreases over time, Community Corrections may move up or down through the stages, and offices across the state may be in different stages depending on health advice.
Stage 1. Adopt social distancing principles, undertake screening of offenders and adjust operational activities on a case-by-case basis to reduce likelihood of infection.
Stage 2. Staff to wear surgical face masks when conducting in person engagement with offenders and external services. Increased use of videoconferencing to facilitate reporting where appropriate and reduce exposure.
Stage 3. Cease direct employee and offender contact except to manage high risk persons or situations. Maintain service delivery via remote operations.