Risk of hostage situation or being overpowered: officer

DANGER is imminent at the Maryborough Correctional Centre, according to a correctional officer at the prison.

In a candid interview with the Chronicle, the MCC officer has told of the unsafe situations he faces every day at work.

He says a dangerous situation is imminent.

The officer, who did not want to be named, revealed danger, low morale and obvious division among officers and management.

He said the civilians who worked at the prison and walked around without protection were constantly at risk.

"I don't know how they've never had a hostage situation," he said.

MCC general manager Trevor Craig denied the officer's claims, saying civilians did an introductory course and carried safety devices.

"Just like officers, each one of them carries a personal distress device," he said.

Mr Craig refuted the anonymous officer's claims of low morale.

"The indicators of low morale aren't there," he said.

The officer also said the lack of training provided to the centre's officers meant prisoners could easily overpower them.

In many cell blocks, 50 prisoners were watched by two officers.

"You get paid for what might happen," he said.

"You've always got to be aware of what's going on."

But Mr Craig said officer safety was one of management's highest priorities.

"The staffing has been the same since the centre opened," he said.

"A ratio of two to 50 is pretty close to your standard across the state."

Mr Craig said the MCC had one of the lowest rates in the state for assaults on officers.

The officer said recent NAIDOC celebrations, when the prison was inundated with visitors, were an excellent opportunity to introduce contraband.

Mr Craig said normal procedures were followed during the celebrations.

On Tuesday, the Chronicle reported that a woman had been charged after allegedly trying to smuggle drugs into the prison.

The officer said he was not worried about the potential privatisation of the MCC, saying other privately run prisons were well organised.

"I think a few of the old heads will take the payout and leave," he said.

Mr Craig said the allegations were disappointing.

"Unfortunately when we try to promote the prison in a good light there's always one or two who try to bring it down," he said.

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