Salvo officers will tour every prison in Queensland delivering small Christmas packages.
Salvo officers will tour every prison in Queensland delivering small Christmas packages. Neal Patel

Salvo's provide a little Christmas cheer for prison inmates

FOR those behind bars, Christmas is a particularly lonely and vulnerable time.

Visitors are not allowed.

Christmas carols are restricted to those who have stereos in their cells or those who head to chaplain services on December 25.

Work, classes, gym access and some medical services are cancelled.

What they will have is a special Christmas meal, including bacon and eggs for breakfast and a serve of roasted chicken, vegetables, beans and gravy for lunch.

For dessert there is plum pudding custard and ice cream.

Ham and salad will be dinner.

They will also have the presents delivered to them by one of the Salvation Army's chaplains this week.

These officers tour every prison in Queensland, covering 2500 inmates in southern jails alone, delivering small packages.

The packet contains a handkerchief, cards, socks, diary, notepad and some lollies.

Salvo's spokesman Major Neil Dickson said it was "nothing flash" but it showed inmates someone was thinking of them.

"It's extremely difficult for families," he said.

"They can't enjoy Christmas day with their family member who is incarcerated.

"They can't spent that special time with them."

Chaplaincy advisor Major Bruce Robinson was not able to speak to APN directly but passed on that for him "it was a personal pleasure to see the smiles and joy on these guys' faces".

"Receiving a gift basically says you are appreciated, you are worthwhile and it says that somebody cares," Mr Robinson said.

The small packets are put together by inmates in New South Wales on behalf of the Salvo's.

Even with these small trinkets, life inside was particularly hard on Christmas.

A Department of Corrections spokesman said staff carefully monitored how men and women dealt with the emotionally pressures.

"(Staff) are aware of the need to be extra diligent."

He said there was no obvious change in prisoner behaviour on Christmas.


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