Dog squad

Prison dog squad

Dog squad units across Queensland work in all secure correctional centres helping to keep our centres drug free. Our drug detection dogs play a crucial role in barrier detection at each centre.

We purchase and recruit dogs from breeders, and occasionally members of the public donate dogs. Of these, approximately 50% of dogs that are considered are then found to be suitable for prison work.

Currently there are 94 dogs working in our centres. Our breeds include:

  • German shepherds
  • Labradors
  • Springer spaniels.

We have two different types of dogs, general purpose dogs and drug detection dogs.

General purpose dogs

General purpose dogs are our more assertive dogs. We train general purpose dogs using the bond method, which forms a handler-dog bond of trust.

Most general purpose dogs are German shepherds. They are trained in obedience, tracking, agility, searching and protection work. They work in our correctional centres, farms and centre reserves performing tasks such as:

  • searching for drugs
  • assisting with daily supervision of prisoners
  • conducting internal and external foot patrols
  • assisting with maintaining control during major incidents
  • tracking of prisoners who have escaped from correctional centres/farms
  • conducting high security escorts.

Drug detection dogs

We also have drug detection dogs. We train drug detection dogs using play. They are taught to retrieve and find their scented toys and are rewarded with affection and praise.

Labradors and Springer spaniels are the most common passive alert drug detection (PADD) dog breeds currently working in prisons due to their friendly nature and high play, hunt and retrieve drives.

PADD dogs and their handlers frequently work with people. They perform searches on:

  • incoming mail
  • visitors
  • staff
  • vehicles and  areas inside the centre.

Their main duties are on visits days. They search prisoners’ friends, family and associates as they are processed through the gatehouse. If a PADD dog picks up a drug scent, it will give an indication to the handler, alerting them to a drug odour.