Inspector to provide additional correctional oversight

Released 26/10/2017

A new oversight agency will inspect the ACT’s correctional centres and services as well as review critical incidents under new laws introduced today.

Minister for Corrections Shane Rattenbury said the Inspector of Correctional Services would strengthen the foundation for improved care, safety and health of detainees in correctional facilities.

The Inspector of Correctional Services Bill 2017 will create the Inspector of Correctional Services to oversee ACT correctional facilities and deliver on the Government’s commitment made in response to the Moss Review into the tragic death in custody of Steven Freeman.

The Inspector will provide a comprehensive agenda for overall improvement of correctional services and lead sustainable change towards best practice in the ACT. This will ensure continuous improvement through the systematic and regular review of correctional centres and services.

The Inspector will work with, but be distinct from, the existing oversight mechanisms undertaken by the Human Rights Commission, ACT Ombudsman, Public Advocate and the Official Visitors program.

The Legislative Assembly will be provided with independent reports from the Inspector, who will be able to conduct unannounced visits to correctional centres and court cells.

The Inspector will undertake comprehensive and systemic inspections of correctional centres and services every two years, review critical incidents, and particular issues referred by the responsible Minister or Director-General.

Once appointed, the Inspector will commence its functions at the Alexander Maconochie Centre immediately, and within two years at the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre.

Introducing the Inspector to the youth justice system will be through a phased implementation to ensure Bimberi Youth Justice Centre and the ACT has a best practice inspectorate for youth justice.

Comments attributable to Minister for Corrections Shane Rattenbury:

“The establishment of an Inspector of Correctional Services will focus reform efforts, keep a steady eye on correctional facilities and services and support the implementation of real change.”

“Our correctional facilities must operate at the high standards that our community rightly expects and this new model of external oversight will help ensure they do so.”

“This will increase transparency and accountability, and deter mismanagement, unfairness and corruption.”

Comments attributable to Minister for Disability, Children and Youth Rachel Stephen-Smith:

“The youth justice environment in the ACT is different to that of adult correctional facilities.”

“The ACT’s youth justice centre operates services and programs that are trauma-informed, recognising the impact of traumatic experiences on young people’s behaviour and capacity to address issues. The Inspector must have appropriate trauma-informed expertise to ensure the specific needs of young people are met, including young people with a disability.”

“We also need to ensure that all matters regarding the operation of the Inspectorate and the provisions of the Children and Young People Act 2008 around issues such as client privacy are fully worked through.”

- Statement ends -

Section: Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases

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