REPORTS of overcrowding in the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre near Gatton have sparked fears there may be risks to the safety of prison officers.
State Wide Operations deputy commissioner Peter Bottomley said 21 prisoners from the Darling Downs Correctional Centre transferred to the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre on July 18, with the current number of prisoners at 337.
Shadow Corrective Services Minister Bill Byrne said the overcrowding was putting prison security and staff safety at risk.
"The overcrowding will raise the risk of unrest, or even worse, result in more violent attacks against staff and fellow inmates as tensions rise because of lack of space," he said.
"Should there be any incidents at the Gatton facility because of overcrowding the Corrective Services Minister needs to be held personally responsible.
"I don't think anyone could seriously consider a prison is anything but a frontline facility and prison officers anything but frontline staff."
Deputy Commissioner Bottomley said the number of prisoners was expected to increase to 352 over the next few weeks with prisoners being transferred from the Brisbane Correctional Centre.
"We make careful and thorough assessments in relation to prisoners who may double up according to appropriate risk and need," he said. "We are using the most cost effective beds to manage our prisoners. That means when we need beds for a transition such as closure of Darling Downs we use surge beds.
"We will reopen 50 beds at Palen Creek in the next two months as part of the plan."
He said no security or safety issues or breaches had been reported since the prison reached over capacity and there was no consideration being given to building other stages of the prison.