Section 1: Chronological summary 1970 - 2008

1970 - Weekend Detention Act passed

1971 - Inquiry - planning of mass escapes and violence against prisoners at Westbrook Training Centre in Qld - (Juveniles)

1974 - Bredauer Report released -

The Government-commissioned a review in response to a number of high profile escapes from Boggo Road Gaol (H.M. Brisbane).  The review's Bredhauer Report made a number of recommendations to re-design and manage the Gaol, inter alia.

1976 - Commission of Inquiry into Youth (1975) (Demack Report ) released

Due to continuing community disquiet about juvenile offending (particularly female juvenile offending), a Commission of Inquiry was established, which ultimately culminated in the Report - The Nature and Extent of Problems Confronting Youth in Queensland (Demack Report).  It led to improvements in the juvenile justice system and basically supported the continued decentralization of departmental services.

1978 - Qld Law Reform Commission's Working Paper on Bill to Amend the Law in   
Relation to Bail (No. 20) (1978)

Review of current bail provisions, with draft Bail Bill (later to become Bail Act 1980)

1980 - Bail Act (1980) passed

This was the first (consolidated) Queensland bail legislation.

1981 - Community Service Order program begins

The program was initiated at this time (and borrowed from Western Australian provisions according to Bradshaw 1999: 9), with the first Release to Work Hostel opened.

1983 - Riot in Boggo Road Gaol

Prisoners took over the Industrial Division for about 24 hours in November, causing damage which rendered 129 cells uninhabitable for six months.  Prisoners demanded more and better food, and relief from harsh treatment. 

1983 - Fine Option Order Scheme introduced

An amendment to the Offenders Probation and Parole Act (1959) allowed offenders who could not pay fines to perform community service under the Fine Option Order Scheme.

1984 - Sir David Longland Report into HM Prison Brisbane (Boggo Road)

Sir David Longland was appointed by Government to enquire into management practices at Boggo Road Gaol, following considerable publicity and other public discussion relating to prisoner unrest, rioting and staff discontent.  The final Report made far-reaching recommendations, ranging over the whole structure of prison life, and attempted to provide benchmarks for all aspects of the prison system.

- Community Services (Aborigines) Act 1984

This legislation provided for appointment of ATSI police (with prosecutorial duties) and clarified jurisdiction and procedure for Aboriginal courts. 

1986 - A pilot home detention scheme commenced.

The scheme was adopted on a permanent basis in a number of locations in 1987.

- A riot in Division 2 of Boggo Road

The riot resulted in extensive structural damage, and was brought about by poor facilities and staff disquiet in relation to modernisation of prison management practices.  The conditions of Division 2, in part, also led to the Kennedy Review (see below).

1987-1989 - Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct (Fitzgerald Inquiry)

The significance of the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption lies in its connection to the Kennedy investigations into corrections(1988) and to the establishment of the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) in Queensland.

1987 - Queensland Task Force on Domestic Violence established

This Taskforce was established in the wake of a number of highly-publicised incidents of domestic murder-suicide and sustained lobbying of the Family Services Minister by community groups fearing heightened levels of domestic violence in the State.

1988 - Commission of Review into Corrective Services in Queensland 1988 (Kennedy Report (Final Report)(August 1988) & Interim Report (May 1988))

The Kennedy Review into corrective services in Queensland resulted in extensive changes to the system - including new legislation, a new organisational structure and the creation of a series of new policies and procedures.

- Corrective Services Act 1988, Corrective Services (Administration) Act 1988 and Corrections Services (Consequential Amendments) Act 1988 repealed Prisons Act 1958.

This legislation was introduced as a result of the Kennedy review, introducing major reforms.  In part, set up the Queensland Corrective Services Commission (QCSC) to replace the Prisons Department and Probation and Parole.

1989  -  Sir David Longland Correctional Centre opens at Wacol

This was the first new prison commissioned following the Kennedy reforms. It was the first correctional centre in Queensland whose prisoners were not required to address officers as "Sir" or "Ma'am". It was also the first centre to employ staff specialising in sentence management, structured rehabilitation and education.

1989 - The Domestic Violence (Family Protection) Act 1989 introduced

This legislation introduced protection orders, and led to more rigorous policing and prosecution of domestic violence offenders. 

- The Women's Community Custody (WCC) program

The program begins at the Helena Jones Community Corrections Centre

1990 - Beginnings of Work (on release) Program (WORC)

Western Outreach Camp program established, which provided significant work experience for prisoners and benefits for numerous Queensland rural and regional towns (re-named WORC in 1992 and Work Program in 2006).

- First privatisation of prison in Australia

Management of Borallon as a medium security facility was contracted to the Corrections Corporation of Australasia.  This marked the beginning of privatisation of correctional services in Qld and Australia.  It was originally built to hold 244 inmates, but was extended to hold 700 medium and low-security prisoners.

1991 - Regional Report on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Released

Examination of 27 Aboriginal deaths in custody between 1980 and 1989 in Queensland, completed by Commissioner Wyvill as part of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC).

- First outstation (Wathamin) opened at Arukun to provide a means of containing Aboriginal prisoners outside correctional centres.

Now called ‘Community Placement Centres', four outstations in total were eventually set up (Baa's Yard (1993 - Pormpuraaw), Kitchener Bligh (1997 Palm Island) and KASH (1997 - Mount Isa) (as at 1999, Bradshaw 1999: 13))

- Qld Law Reform Commission's - To bail or not to bail: a review of Queensland's bail law (Discussion Paper 35) (March 1991)

The Law Reform provided this Discussion Paper relating to then-current bail legislation, setting out a number of recommendations relating to bail.

- Criminal Justice Commission Inquiry - Report on a Public Inquiry into Certain Allegations Against Employees of the Queensland Prison Service and Its Successor the Queensland Corrective Services Commission

The CJC inquired into allegations raised in Parliament and through the media in relation to corruption and misconduct within the prison system, finding that the allegations were motivated, in part, by discontent within the system as a result of Kennedy reforms.

1992 - Review Committee established to give effect to ‘special needs status' of women prisoners.

This Committee, consisting of QCSC staff and female prisoners, was established in response to the ‘special needs status' given to women prisoners in 1992 by the QCSC.  The Committee completed a report in 1993 (Report of the Women's Policy Review) and recommendations were implemented during 1994-1997.

-Juvenile Justice Act 1992

The tough stance of the new Juvenile Justice Act 1992 was, in part, a response to community concerns about juvenile crime and the inadequacies of the welfare model approach to such crime. (See also Juvenile Justice Legislation Amendment Act 1996 below). The Children's Court Act 1992 also introduced amendments to the Children's Court as it then was.

- Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 

The Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 introduced sentencing principles; consolidated the range of sentencing options and organised them into a hierarchy; created new options (intensive correction orders and indefinite sentences), as well as re-introducing others (such as suspended sentences); and altered how fine default periods of imprisonment had to be served (consecutively, rather than concurrently).

1993 -         Qld Law Reform Commission's The Bail Act (Working Paper No. 41) (Feb 1993)

An examination of Bail Act within context of RCIADIC, in relation to the question of a right to bail, and bail for persons committing domestic violence offences.   See also law Reform Commission's The Bail Act (Report No. 43) (June 1993) - final report on aforementioned issues relating to bail.

- Wacol Riots

A major riot occurred at Wacol Correctional Centre in September, when inmates seized control of the centre - regained several hours later.  The Minister of Correctional Services (Milliner) was sacked as a result. 

- Community Justice Groups

Pilot Indigenous Community Justice Groups were established at Palm Island, Kowanyama and Pomparraw under the Local Justice Initiatives Program, a response to the RCIADIC. 

-  Review - Juvenile Detention Centres

Following a critical 1993 review of juvenile detention centres, the Sir Leslie Wilson and Westbrook Youth Detention Centres were closed and sold, while the John Oxley and Cleveland Youth Detention Centres were upgraded.

- Public Sector Management Commission's Review of the Queensland Corrective Services Commission 1993

This Government-commissioned review of the QCSC was largely positive, and recommended retaining the Commission structure.  Recommendations were also made in relation to a range of other issues.

1994 - Youth Detention Centre Enhancement Program

Government initiated this program to raise the remaining detention centres to national standards.  It involved the construction of a new 86-bed youth detention centre at Wacol, the redevelopment of Cleveland Youth Detention Centre to increase capacity, and upgrades to John Oxley Centre, including a new perimeter wall, control station and educational facilities

1995 - Criminal Offence Victims Act 1995

This legislation provided for a code of treatment for victims, statutory compensation, and greater involvement of victims in the justice process. 

- Open custody centres for women established in Townsville

A later one was established at Numinbah in SE Qld in 1997. A female work camp opened in Warwick in 1995 with offenders sourced from Helana Jones Community Corrections Centre.
Government splits purchaser and provider functions of QCSC

Due to concerns about QCSC bidding for construction of new correctional facilities, Queensland Corrections (QCORR) was established as a Government Owned Corporation to separate the purchaser and provider functions of QCSC.

1997 - Mengler, Report of the Commission of inquiry into drugs in Queensland Custodial Correctional Centres

- Riot at Woodford Correctional Centre

Riot occurred only one month after opening of the Centre, and resulted in Director General Hamburger resigning.

- Juvenile Justice Legislation Amendment Act 1996

This amending Act made a number of changes to the Juvenile Justice Act 1992, including providing for community conferencing, for the use of records of caution and of conferencing as part of child's criminal history, and for the imposition of life sentences on juveniles convicted of ‘life offences' (where previously the maximum sentence was 14 years imprisonment). 

- Criminal Justice Commission Report on Police Watchhouses in Queensland

Report considered and made recommendations in relation to conditions, including overcrowding, in the 197 Police Watchhouses in Queensland housing those refused bail by police (minimal numbers) and those awaiting transfer to a custodial centre (majority of those detained in watchhouses).

1997 - Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Remote Communities (Justice Initiatives) Amendment Act 1997

The legislation amended s 55C of the Criminal Code to give Indigenous Justices of the Peace power to hear and determine indictable offences summarily, in some instances, and where the defendant pleads guilty, and if the relevant penalty imposed would be less than six months or $7,500. 

- Criminal Law Amendment Act 1997 and Penalties and Sentences (Serious Violent Offences) Amendment Act 1997 and Corrective Services Act

This amending legislation introduced a raft of changes, having the effect of toughening the correctional system.

1997  - Major escape from David Longlands and riots at Townsville and Woodford

1997 - Queensland Crime Commission (QCC) established

The Crime Commission Act 1997 established the QCC as a permanent investigative body to investigate organised and major crime and criminal paedophilia. 

1997 - Dismissal of members of Queensland Community Corrections Board

On 26 May 1997, the members of the CCB was dismissed following extensive media publicity about two rapes allegedly committed by a convicted rapist while at large after absconding from weekend leave (approved by the Board).

1998 - Townsville Correctional Centre for women

Attempt to locate female inmates, who had previously only been detained in Brisbane, closer to their families and communities in Nth Qld.  Some women at this time were also permitted to have their children with them in custody.

1999 - Corrections in the Balance: A Review of Corrective Services in Queensland - A Commission of Inquiry, Queensland Corrective Services Review (Peach Inquiry)

A Government commissioned review of ten years of operation of the QCSC which made a number of recommendations, including that the Commission structure be returned to a departmental structure; a separation of custodial and community corrections; and that the needs of Indigenous persons should be more effectively addressed.

 - Forde Report

Investigation of treatment of children in licensed government and non-government institutions in Queensland 1911 to 1999, leading to recommendations in relation to youth justice. 

2000 - Drug Court pilot commences

In 2000, the drug court pilot commenced in three magistrates courts under the Drug Rehabilitation (Court Diversion) Act 1999.  Drug-dependent offenders could be diverted to intensive correctional orders in lieu of imprisonment, requiring attendance at drug rehabilitation programs, inter alia.

- Corrective Services Act 2000

Changes introduced by this legislation, which completely repealed the 1988 corrections legislation and were based on the Peach Review (1999), included abolition of remissions, and restrictions on eligibility for parole, as well changes to prison operations more generally.

 - Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Agreement

One of the first Agreements in Australia to result from the 1997 Ministerial Summit into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, and set out relevant principles and outcomes to address Indigenous overrepresentation in Queensland

2002 - Murri Court commences

First Murri Court (Magistrates Court for sentencing Aboriginal, Torres Strait
Islander and South Sea Islander offenders who plead guilty to an offence) sits in Brisbane.  It was evaluated positively in 2006 as an effective mechanism for increased community participation in the justice system.

2003 - Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 (DPSOA)

Hard line legislation responding to community concern about convicted sexual offenders.

 - Queensland Illicit Drug Diversion Initiative commences

This initiative diverts drug users from the criminal justice system and into education and treatment programs. Offenders who meet criteria are given an opportunity to attend assessment and education program to address drug use, in lieu of being charged or as part of recognisance order. 

2004 - Legal Aid Queensland review of access to legal services for women and girls in custody

The review was motivated in part by rising numbers of women in custody (almost tripling in number from 1995-2000).  

         - Palm Island death in custody

Death in police custody of Indigenous member of Palm Island community led to riots, Government inquiry, and review of DPP decision not to prosecute police officer, leading to subsequent prosecution.

          - Incorrections Report, QUT

Queensland University of Technology report into prison release practice and policy, largely discredited by Government.

          - Queensland Indigenous Alcohol Diversion Program commences

Provides diversionary option for those Indigenous offenders with issues relating to alcohol abuse.

2005 - Department of Corrective Services, Work outreach camps community engagement report

Positive report, based on community consultation, recommending expansion of the program and enhanced community engagement.

2006 - Anti Discrimination Commission of Queensland Report: Women in Prison (2006)

Made a number of recommendations in relation to Indigenous women prisoners, prisoners with children, Drug Court and non-custodial options for women.

  1. Corrective Services Act 2006


Key features of the new legislation were a new security classification system; abolition of judicial review of management decisions about prisoner security and placement; changes to eligibility criteria for prisoners to be transferred to Work Camps to exclude sexual offenders; and supervised parole replacing all other forms of early release.

 - Department of Corrective Services, Review of the roles and functions of Queensland Correctional Centres 2006-2015

Sets out future roles and functions of Correctional Centres.

          - Queensland Corrective Services' Drug Strategy - Tackling Drug Abuse and Addiction, Changing Lives in Queensland Prisons

Delivers a zero-tolerance approach to drug use within a harm minimisation context. This approach focuses on keeping drugs out of prison, while simultaneously providing effective treatment interventions to prisoners to reduce demand, and delivering operational strategies to reduce the harm caused by drug abuse. This approach is consistent with community standards (see Queensland Corrective Services Annual Report 06/07: 7).

2007 - Department of Corrective Services, The management of convicted sex offenders in Queensland

Guides Corrective Services management of sex offenders in the community, including under the DPSOA.

2008 - Arukun Child Sexual Assault case

Widely publicised case relating to ‘soft' sentencing on Aboriginal communities for sexual offences against child - led to Government inquiry.

         - A New Public Protection Model for the Management of High Risk Sexual and Violent Offenders (2008): (Dangerous  Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 etc.)

Government conducted a review of Qld public protection legislation (providing for continued detention or supervision to high risk sexual and violent offenders). Recommendations include legislative amendments to Dangerous Offenders (Sexual Offfenders) Act 2003 and Penalties and Sentences Act 1992. 

2008 -  Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) policy for women prisoners.

This policy -  Improving Outcomes for Women Offenders  (Women Offenders Policy and Action Plan 2008-2012) - was released in 2008, and had been preceded by earlier, similar policies dating from 2001.