The current population of over 9000 prisoners is the largest ever recorded in Queensland history.
Recent media reports of violent attacks on correctional centre staff, drug overdoses by inmates, and rolling strikes by correctional centre staff are an accurate reflection of the tension I have experienced walking through Queensland correctional centres. There have been several suicides and one murder in this past year.
If there is a silver lining to this, it is that chaplaincy has perhaps never been more needed and welcomed by both prisoners and staff. There is a strong, faithful community of Christian prisoners in every correctional centre in Queensland.
When I attend Sunday services in prisons, the fervour of worship and the attentiveness to the Word of God are an inspiration to me.
Earlier this year I had to smile at the astonished looks on the faces of guards peering in to see the source of the accidental acapello male voice choir singing How Great Thou Art in multiple harmonies the day the audiovisual equipment was not working.
The stories I hear from my team of changed lives are heart-warming. It has been my privilege recently, in addition to my management role, to regularly serve as a duty chaplain at Borallon Training and Correctional Centre and experience first-hand the liberating power of the gospel to bring a sense of freedom to people who are incarcerated.
As part of my role I also complete support visits with each prison chaplain. The esteem in which they are held never ceases to impress me.
I praise God for the work that is going on in this vital ministry and for the people whose prayer and financial support undergird it.
Inside Out Prison Chaplaincy Coordinator