Home Contents About the Coalition Links

Prison NSP
Prison Objectives
Recent Forums
Report Card
Strip Searching


Submission on Corrections Management Bill

On 24 May 2007 the Coalition circulated to all members of the Legislative Assembly a detailed submission critical of a number of aspects of the Corrections Management Bill. Read the summary here and the full submission here.

The Assembly passed the Bill with some amendments. It became the Corrections Management Act 2007.

The most significant amendment was to what is now s.21 providing for the chief executive of the Health Department to appoint the prison doctor. The Coalition had proposed that similar arrangements that now apply to the doctor, should also be made for nurses and other medical professionals who have a role in maintenance of health treatment in the prison.

The enacted legislation incorporate only a small part of what the Coalition sought.

Reviews of the Prison

On 10 February 2010 the Legislative Assembly passed the motion calling for an independent review of the new prison (see The Attorney-General subsequently approved these terms of reference with a few changes. The independent review team is led by Mr Keith Hamburger and his Brisbane based firm Knowledge Consulting. The final terms of reference and Information on progress of the review including is available here. The team's progress report which was  tabled in August 2010 in the Assembly is available here.

A second review is being conducted on behalf of ACT Health by the Burnett Institute for Medical Research in Melbourne. This is evaluating the drug policies and services and their subsequent effects on prisoners and staff within the prison on behalf of ACT Health. It is considering drug policies and services and their subsequent effects on prisoners and staff within the prison and the review of the prison's . The evaluation is led by Dr Mark Stoové.

The submission by the Community Corrections Coalition (here) asks that the reviews consider closely the impact of the operation of the prison on the mental health of those detained. Mental health is relevant to the Burnet Review on drug policy not least because, in the words of the Senate Select Committee on Mental Health comorbid conditions of substance dependence and other mental health problems are the expectation rather than exceptions in prisons. The submission reaffirms and supplements the recommendations of the Coalition's 2008 study, Healthy or harmful? Mental health and the operational regime of the new ACT prison (ACT Community Coalition on Corrections, Canberra, April 2008) here .

The Coalition maintains that the operation of the prison regime must promote improvement in the poor mental health of those detained. To achieve this the damaging operational regime of the traditional prison must not be replicated in the ACT. This can be achieved only if the regime is designed, operated and monitored with the close oversight of those with a deep understanding of how to promote mental well being and commitment to that end. The submission points out that there has been shortcomings (in part through inadequate resourcing of Corrections) in planning for the operation of the prison both in identifying and integrating performance indicators into the prison's management and in coordinating government and community support services. In this last respect the Coalition's submission reaffirms the thrust of the submission of the Community Integration Governance Group  (CIGG) on the importance of careful planning and coordination of through and after care.

In short, the Coalition argues that all the aspects of running the prison are so various yet interrelated in their capacity to impact on the prison’s capacity to achieve the objectives that the Government has set for it that only by governance changes at the highest level of Corrections as put forward by the Coalition in its Healthy or Harmful study will be effective to initiate and drive change at all the different levels and aspects

The Coalition made its submission to the reviews on 6 October. The version here dated 31 October incorporates some corrections and other minor editorial changes.