A Palaszczuk Government program to install bunk beds in correctional centres is improving safety and creating jobs for Queenslanders, including offenders who have turned their lives around.
Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan today visited Indigenous owned and operated Brisbane-based Bridgeman, the manufacturer supplying 2700 bunk beds to Queensland Corrective Services.
“We have invested $1 billion in Queensland Corrective Services this financial year which is a $32.2 million budget increase to significantly boost safety and security,” Minister Ryan said.
“This includes $8 million for more than 500 additional bunk beds in high security correctional centres across Queensland as part of the Bunk Bed Program to manage the increasing prison population.
“In the 2021-22 budget process, government approved $8 million to install additional beds in high secure Correctional Centres across Queensland as part of the bunk bed program (round 3) to manage the increasing prisoner population.
“As well as the bunk beds already installed at Borallon, Arthur Gorrie, Woodford and Capricornia correctional centres, this project aims to deliver over 500 new anti-ligature bunk beds to Brisbane, Lotus Glen, Wolston, Townsville and Maryborough Correctional Centres by August 2022.
“In September 2021, the contract was awarded to Bridgeman for the supply and installation of additional beds totalling $2.861 million,” Minister Ryan said.
Queensland Corrective Services Acting Commissioner, Gary McCahon said the project will assist the humane management of prisoners by increasing overall bed capacity.
“The project commenced at Wolston and Lotus Glenn in November 2021. In January 2022, the project was placed on hold as a result of COVID pandemic and recommenced at Wolston and Townville Correctional Centres in March 2022.
“As at 25 March 2022, 325 additional beds have been installed by Bridgeman with another 300 beds manufactured and ready to be installed.
“Over the entire span of the project, Queensland Corrective Services and Bridgeman have been instrumental in the completion of this infrastructure project with more than 2800 bunk beds installed.
“The new Anti-ligature design is bespoke to our correctional centre environment, ensuring they cannot be modified by prisoners for use as weapons, hiding contraband or to self-harm.
“The bunk beds program has provided relief across the correctional system, resulting in a safer environment for our officers to undertake their duties, “Acting Commissioner McCahon said.
Bridgeman Managing Director, Adam Sarota said that as a result of the project, Bridgeman created 17 new employment opportunities including 23.5% Indigenous, 23.5% apprentices and 17.6% past offenders, which was a testament to Bridgeman’s equal opportunity values.
“Not only has the project underpinned expansion for Bridgeman, it fits in well with Bridgeman’s Futures Program which focuses on training and retaining Australian apprentices and trainees and enables them to create and develop the industry’s future workforce,” Adam said.
“As an Indigenous owned and operated company, Bridgeman are committed to reducing Youth Crime by providing leadership, support, opportunity, and encouragement through their award winning social initiatives including the One Mob Initiative, Bridging the Gap, Kickin’ with a Cuz, Futures Program, Career Transition Program, Women in Construction Pathway and participating in Government programs,” Adam said.