Qld prison overcrowding, violence rising

The rate of Queenslanders being jailed has almost doubled since 2010, as the issue of prison overcrowding is blamed for a rise in violence on inmates and guards.

Ten per cent of all penalties handed down by the state's magistrates in 2010-11 were custodial sentences, according to a report from the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council.

By 2016-17 that number had risen to 19 per cent of all penalties, including time behind bars as well as suspended sentences and intensive correctional orders.

The number of assaults in Queensland prisons is also on the rise, with nearly 3000 recorded in the last financial year.

The ABC reports that most of the 2997 attacks were by prisoners on fellow inmates, while a record high of 284 were on prison staff.

There has been a 131 per cent increase in assaults since 2013/14, prompting prison authorities to declare overcrowding their biggest operational issue.

Every high security correctional centre in Queensland is over capacity, with many resorting to "doubling up" and putting an extra mattress on the floor of a single-prisoner cell, the ABC reports.

Queensland Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan said plans were already in place to address the overcrowding.

Mr Ryan said they were spending $241 million to increase capacity at Capricornia Correctional Centre by 396 beds, while the Borallon Training and Correctional Centre had boosted capacity by 736 beds.

That had allowed the 302-bed Southern Queensland Correctional Centre to be converted into a women's prison, the minister said.

"Once all construction is complete in 2020, over 1980 prisoner beds will have been delivered since February 2015," Mr Ryan said.

The Liberal National Party's corrective services spokesman Trevor Watts said that would still leave Queensland's prisons at 128 per cent capacity in 2020.

"Our prison staff deserve not to be thrown into a cage fight, the prisoners deserve not to be overcrowded," Mr Watts told reporters on Tuesday.

"Overcrowded prisons lead to violent prisons, and violent prisons mean that as people are released they're not rehabilitated."