Last updated 19 January 2017 This chapter is currently under review.
For the purposes of the transfer policy, the state is divided into three regions: southern, central and northern Queensland. The frequency of transfers should be minimised, and the placement should be based on program requirements and ease of access to visits by the person’s family. Transfers between regions should be avoided wherever possible unless as a result of operational needs or specifically requested by the prisoner. More information on prisoner transfer can be obtained from the Queensland Correctional Services (QCS).
The following reasons may be acceptable:
- ensure the person is accommodated according to the assessed risks and needs
- more effectively utilise agency resources
- provide closer family links through visitor access
- provide medical or psychiatric treatment
- assist graduated community access through a low security facility
- effect more appropriate placement in emergent situations
- complete programs
- attend a court, parole board or tribunal hearing
- manage protection or compatibility issues.
A work order may be granted transferring a person from a prison to a work camp, and prisoners may also be transfered to another prison or to a place for medical or psychological examination or treatment.
If a person is being transferred to a prison in another region because of capacity utilisation purposes (e.g. the prison is full), they must be given one week notice and can request a reconsideration of the proposed transfer. The transfer must not take effect until the reconsideration has been completed. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander liaison officer or counsellor should be included in the decision-making team. Subject to capacity issues, people who have been subject to an involuntary inter-regional transfer should be offered the opportunity to return to their facility of origin in the month preceding discharge to facilitate community transition arrangements upon release from custody.
Involuntary transfers should take place without notice only where there is risk to the safety of the prison or the prisoner, or an escape risk.
Reconsideration of transfer decisions
During scheduled and event-based reviews, the review team is required to discuss the person’s preference for placement and the reasons for their preference. This must be recorded. Under exceptional circumstances, a person may apply in writing for transfer to another prison outside the review process, using the Transfer Request Form available at the prison.
If a person is going to be transferred they should be given at least 24 hours notice, except in the case of risk to the safety of the prison or the prisoner, or escape risk.
Apart from the initial placement decision, all subsequent transfers allow the person to apply for reconsideration within seven days of obtaining the notice of the transfer.
A Transfer Review Request Form will be provided to a prisoner on request. The person may ask for a review of the decision, because:
- the transfer procedures were not being followed
- inappropriate or inaccurate information formed the basis of the transfer recommendation or decision
- family or special circumstances have not been adequately considered.
The reconsideration must be completed within 28 days of the person’s request being received, but the transfer will proceed irrespective of the status of the request. If the transfer decision is cancelled, the person must be returned, subject to vacancies.
Although the Corrective Services Act 2006 (Qld) seeks to limit a person’s opportunity to object to any transfer by removing the right to seek judicial review of any decision involving transfer, recent case law suggests these provisions may be unconstitutional and legal advice should be sought.
Interstate transfer applications are governed by the Prisoners (Interstate Transfer) Act 1982 (Qld), which is part of a national scheme that includes mirror legislation in other states.
Applications may be made for a transfer for legal reasons where the prisoner is facing outstanding charges in another state, or a welfare transfer where the person’s family, friends or other significant persons reside in another state. Applications for transfers for legal reasons can also be made by an attorney-general for the purposes of bringing a person before a court in their state. If a person is on parole, different legislation applies for extradition.
Interstate Transfer Application forms should be available at the prison. An application for a welfare transfer should be accompanied by supporting documentation from friends and family, including medical certificates if the health of a family member or friend is part of the reason for the transfer.
The process involves approval from the Attorney-General (transfer for legal reasons) or Minister for Corrective Services (welfare transfers) of both states and can therefore take several months, even years, to be processed and effected. If the request for a welfare transfer is refused, another application will not be considered for 12 months.
Complications can arise with the calculation of sentences of prisoners who transfer between states, especially where the sentencing practices of the states involved are very different (e.g. laws and practices in relation to remissions). In general terms, a person’s sentence goes with them, and any direction or order made by the court in which they were sentenced will be enforced in the receiving state. However, the sentence will be deemed to have been imposed in the receiving state, and the laws of that state will apply.
Any non-citizen, including a permanent resident, who is convicted of a criminal offence in Australia and receives a sentence of 12 months imprisonment or more may be liable to criminal deportation under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth). Criminal deportation may be appealed in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Deportation usually takes place immediately upon release, either at the end of the full sentence or after release on parole. The deportee may be kept in immigration detention pending their deportation even where they have been released from custody for criminal offences.