26 September 2023

Prison inspector shuts door on visits

Start the conversation

The ACT Inspector of Correctional Services has cancelled his visits to the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC), Bimberi Youth Justice Centre and court cells during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

The Inspector, Neil McAllister said the move was in recognition of the risks to his Office staff taking the virus into the facilities and the significant challenges faced by places of detention at this time.

His Office of the Inspector of Correctional Services (OICS) said the Inspector’s decision would not impact on any scheduled inspections of correctional facilities.

“If a critical incident occurs at any of these facilities, this decision will be reviewed,” the OICS said.

It said it was “very conscious” of restrictions being placed on inmates in response to COVID-19.

“Therefore, the Inspector continues to monitor the situation in the AMC and Bimberi and is seeking regular updates on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.

“In addition, OICS is in communication with other bodies who have oversight of these facilities.”

The Office said it was also monitoring the response of prisons in other Australian jurisdictions and overseas during the pandemic.

“This allows OICS to see what measures have and have not been successful in comparable jurisdictions,” it said.

The OICS said ACT Corrective Services had set up virtual prison visits using Zoom software, with each detainee allowed one video ‘visit’ per week.

“Visitors will be asked to put themselves in a location where other members of the public cannot be seen on camera and other people are not allowed to be ‘invited’ into the link,” the OICS said.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.