The Queensland government’s crime crusade has led to a $245 million jump in the cost of running the state’s prisons, the Labor Opposition says.
The Queensland attorney-general’s law and order crusade is costing taxpayers an extra $245 million a year, the opposition says.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has introduced mandatory sentences for repeat child sex offenders and bikies, and has created a dedicated bikies-only jail at Woodford, north of Brisbane.
The opposition’s police spokesman Bill Byrne says the result has been a $245.3 million increase in the cost of running the prison service in just one year.
The prison population has also increased by more than 1000 to 7222 state wide – well beyond the 6832 permanent beds in Queensland jails.
Mr Byrne said assaults on prison officers had also skyrocketed, alongside prisoner-on-prisoner attacks.
“As the prison population has rocketed, so has the cost of looking after inmates, many of whom could have been punished and rehabilitated more effectively and more cost-efficiently with non-custodial sentences,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
“As the number of inmates has ballooned to record levels, beyond the safe capacity, assault rates against corrective services staff have soared.”
Mr Bleijie said his tough-on-crime stance was making Queensland the safest place to raise a family.
Robberies were down 21 per cent and break-ins had decreased 23 per cent compared to the same period in 2012/13, he said.
In some areas, such as the Sunshine Coast, Moreton and Darling Downs police districts, robberies are down between 50 and 60 per cent.
“Crime is decreasing and serious criminals are being kept off the streets because we’re delivering on our promise to Queenslanders to revitalise frontline services and make Queensland the safest place to raise a family,” he said.