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‘Bikie-only’ prison currently holding one motorcycle gang member

Published in 1%er News and All News

The government's much touted 'bikie-only' prison unit has been opened to other prisoners – as it is currently home to just one outlaw motorcycle club gang member.

A spokeswoman for Queensland Corrective Services confirmed members of the general prison population were “sometimes held in the unit when it is not near its capacity”.

The 52-bed 'restrictive management unit' at the Woodford Correctional Centre's maximum security facility, was recommissioned as the government's “bikie superjail” late last year.

When recommissioning the unit in October last year, Premier Campbell Newman said it not only “gives us the capacity to house these violent criminals, but ensure their activities are closely monitored and controlled 24 hours a day”.

Prisoners within the unit are allowed only one hour outside their cell a day, one 60-minute non-contact visit with family members a week and are subject to increased drug testing and cell searches.

They have no access to gym facilities, no television within their cells and are made to wear fluorescent pink overalls.

When announcing the unit, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said it was a necessary measure to stop gang members from attempting to recruit new members and “continue criminal activities including the distribution of drugs and intimidation of prison staff”.

The unit has been home to prisoners such as the 'Yandina 5', but with the Supreme Court approving bail applications for those charged under the new laws, the number of inmates has been dropping.

The spokeswoman for corrective services said they expected the “numbers of incarcerated prisoners [to] fluctuate over time…as prisoners cut their ties to criminal organisations they will be moved back into the general prison population”.

When bikie gang members began resigning their memberships following the government's anti-association legislation being passed last year, the government said it may not be enough – members would need to prove they had cut all ties and associations.

It is not known how inmates have proven they are no longer club members.

Since the laws were passed in October last year, police have charged 654 gang members and associates with 1458 offences and issued them with 207 traffic infringement notices.

Police have executed 218 search warrants and 890 calls have been made to Crime Stoppers with information about gang member's activities.

The laws are still yet to be fully tested in court.

Writer: Amy Remeikis
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