Last updated 2 September 2019
Incarceration is not a legal disability and normal timeframes will apply to incarcerated people.
Awards of monetary compensation for a civil claim or compensation for a claim under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) made against the state and its employees or contractors will be placed into a victim trust fund (s 319N Corrective Services Act 2006 (Qld) (Corrective Services Act)) for people in prison or on a probation, parole or community-based order (e.g. a fine option order). This applies to money awarded either during the period of incarceration or arising from matters that took place during this period. A person’s debtors, including the State Penalties Enforcement Registry, will be able to claim from this fund as well as eligible victims.
Incarcerated people working in jobs in prison (e.g. cleaning units, working in kitchens) are not considered workers. They are not entitled to workers’ compensation and are not protected by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). If any injuries result from this work, advice should be sought about compensation for personal injury. It is strongly recommended that any prisoner who is injured whilst in prison seek legal advice as soon as possible and obtain legal advice as to their options and statutory time limits before deciding on how to seek redress for their injury.
Negligence and criminal compensation
Prisoners may be able to sue for compensation where they can establish negligence, although damages will be limited as described above. People in prison should be conscious of the importance of obtaining and preserving evidence relevant to their injury. This may include a request for preservation of camera records, obtaining written statements from witnesses and seeking medical assistance as soon as possible, as well as obtaining medical records under the right to information. Much of this evidence will be destroyed if it is not requested within one month of the injury. Legal advice should be sought as soon as possible in relation to how best to seek redress for the injury and advice and assistance in relation to evidence relevant to any future claim for damages compensation for the injury.
People who are assaulted in prison can apply for victims of crime compensation. Legal advice should also be obtained if the assault was due to negligence by or in connection with the prison.