Bill to improve corrections system passes first reading

Wednesday 29 February 2012, 2:47PM
By Anne Tolley

A Bill that will improve prison safety and security and reduce prisoners’ access to contraband has passed its first reading in Parliament, says Corrections Minister Anne Tolley.

“The Corrections Amendment Bill removes red tape, allows our prisons to operate more effectively and makes improvements to drug testing and searching procedures,” says Mrs Tolley.

The Bill will also introduce a single procedure for the strip searching of prisoners and provides greater clarity as to when strip searching must be undertaken.

“This will mean that prisoners will be required to undergo a strip search when they return to a prison from an escorted absence, making it a lot harder for them to smuggle contraband into a prison,” says Mrs Tolley.

“The Bill will also make it an offence for a prisoner to “waterload” prior to a drug test. This means that a prisoner can be disciplined if they are found to be attempting to dilute their urine sample by intentionally drinking large amounts of water prior to being tested.

“While some of the other changes in the Bill are technical, they are important because there are a number of areas where the current law is silent or unclear, resulting in some procedures becoming difficult to follow.

“The changes contained in the Bill eliminate this problem and will allow our frontline corrections officers to get on with the job of protecting our communities and reducing re-offending.”