The Queensland government’s plan to lock up criminal bikies in a super jail could lead to more crime.
Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman says there’s no evidence to back the government’s claim bikies are using their jail time to recruit members, peddle drugs and intimidate prison staff.
The government made the claims in justifying its plan for a bikies-only prison north of Brisbane, where inmates will be subjected to unprecedented monitoring.
Inmates will also be locked in their cells for up to 23 hours a day.
Critics say it is essentially solitary confinement and inmates will develop mental health problems that will make them more dangerous when they are eventually released.
Mr O’Gorman says the government’s claims about what bikies are doing in jail are not backed by evidence.
If bikies were committing crimes from behind bars, he says it would make no sense to lump them all together in the same place.
“Concentrating them in one area is bound to magnify the problem, if there is indeed a problem,” Mr O’Gorman told AAP.
Mr O’Gorman says the plan to confine bikies to their cells is the only real difference between a bikies-only jail and existing maximum-security prisons.
He warns such long periods of isolation will do great harm.
“If you cage people like animals, then they behave like caged animals when they are released,” he said.
Mr O’Gorman noted there was no reference to bikie crime inside Queensland jails in the recent Corrective Services annual report.