Prison move to calm tensions
PRISONERS will be allowed visits from family and friends from Friday in a move that prison officers hope will stop a spate of assaults across Queensland jails.
Contact visits, rather than non-contact through perspex, will be allowed but prisoners will be banned from physical contact.
Visitors will also have to undergo health screenings, temperature checks and handwashing and sanitising.
Multiple assaults and incidents took place after coronavirus measures were put in place earlier this year.
"It's due to the tensions in the jails not having visits," an officer told The Courier-Mail.
"Visitors are now being permitted again and officers are hoping that the tensions might ease and the assaults do decrease.
"To rush straight back into contact visits is a mistake.
"They're a contact visit with no contact. You tell someone that is in jail for not complying with the rules of society that they're not allowed to kiss their wife because of the potential of catching a virus."
Incidents of violence have been ongoing since the COVID-19 measures were put in place.
Just last week an officer at Arthur Gorrie jail was taken hostage by a prisoner and stabbed in the face.
In another incident last weekend at Maryborough jail a prisoner tried to throw hot water over one officer and hit another in the face.
At Lotus Glen an officer also had hot water thrown over him in June because a prisoner couldn't get access to his cell when he wanted.
There was a major "code black" riot at Woodford on April 14 involved up to 15 prisoners who made makeshift weapons and smashed glass.
Officers had to cut their way into unit N15 and use gas after prisoners ripped phones off the walls, made weapons out of chairs and glass and threw urine into an officer station.
There was also a code black riot at Borallon after prisoners damaged part of the jail and injured officers. A day later three prison officers were injured after an incident with an inmate.
Officers have told The Courier-Mail they believe that part of the reason for the violence at the jails was because prisoners had become agitated about visits stopping.
They believe drugs can sometimes be brought into jails during the visits.
Virtual visits online will continue which in some cases has allowed prisoners to speak to family members overseas for the first time in years.
Originally published as Prison move to calm tensions