THE QCS WORK CAMP PROGRAM
The QCS Work Camp Program provides valuable labour for community service projects across regional Queensland and promotes successful prisoner rehabilitation.
By Alex Burton, Engagement Officer
The QCS Work Camp Program is one of the most successful prisoner rehabilitation schemes in Australia, injecting around $3.5 million worth of labour into regional Queensland through community service in the last financial year. There are currently 13 work camp sites across Queensland, with 11 camps of male prisoners and two camps of female prisoners. Geographically, they are spread from as far south as Dirranbandi, near the New South Wales border, to as far north as Innisfail. The work camps are annexed to correctional centres and in 2014-15, they accommodated 74 low risk male prisoners and 11 low risk female prisoners.
Work camps provide valuable labour for community service projects in regional Queensland, while also providing prisoners with an opportunity to make reparation. Community Advisory Committees (CACs) are made up of members of regional councils, police, local business owners, community groups and local residents, as well as the work camp field supervisors. It is their role to nominate and assess priorities for community service projects, provide information and advice about the views of the local community, and promote effective relationships between the community and QCS.
The work camp program began in 1990 as part of an emergency response effort in Charleville following devastating floods. Since this time, the work camps continue to provide emergency assistance across Queensland after floods, storms and other disasters, however, their work extends beyond emergency response. The work completed by prisoners also includes the ongoing maintenance of cemeteries, parks and showgrounds, to the restoration of significant landmarks and buildings of historical importance.