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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 February 2018) . . Page.. 483 ..


measure of my capability as Minister for Corrections can be found in how we manage and respond to the types of incidents that Mrs Jones raises in her motion.

I also believe in the importance of a minister sticking around and sorting out issues as they arise. To stay in a portfolio for a sufficient period of time so that the years of experience become an advantage is surely what the opposition should support. In this way, corporate history, relationships and understanding of the issues are well embedded and this depth of understanding can add value.

During my time as corrections minister, each time an incident has occurred a thorough investigation has taken place and responses and systems are adjusted to improve overall performance of the prison. These adjustments ensure that we are always working towards the aims of a safe and secure jail that also delivers respectful treatment of detainees and provision of assistance for them to improve and rehabilitate.

I feel it is important to observe that several of the incidents that Mrs Jones refers to in her motion have been known for some time, that is, they have not occurred even within the past 12 months. Furthermore, she has already raised a number of these issues in a motion in November 2017 at which time I spoke to the numerous improvements made at the AMC during my time and emphasised that Corrective Services works on a continuous improvement program.

However, I will spend some time outlining what has occurred as a result of the incidents that Mrs Jones has chosen to highlight today. With regard to the very regrettable incident of an accidental release of a detainee in December 2017, I note that this week, more than two months after the incident, Mrs Jones has called for a review.

I can happily inform the Assembly that an internal review has in fact already taken place, having commenced immediately after the incident occurred. The review found that the release occurred due to human error. Mrs Jones has raised issues of community safety. In that regard, I can inform the Assembly that the detainee involved had been out on parole, in the community, up until 28 November.

The review has prompted a number of immediate procedural changes including now releasing detainees on the last working day prior to their release date, rather than over a weekend. This will allow detainees to access services and transport which they would not otherwise have been able to access on the weekend and will ensure smoother release processes. It also allows for higher quality assurance within the AMC with regard to checking sentence expiry details. The corrections officers involved in that incident were formally counselled in writing by the executive director.

The most critical of the incidents listed by Mrs Jones were the two deaths in custody, one of which was the tragic death of Mr Steven Freeman in May 2016. I tabled the Moss review implementation progress report in the Assembly yesterday. In my tabling speech I provided detail on the status of the recommendations. I also outlined significant reform during the past 12 months. A number of the recommendations are now complete and work on the remaining recommendations is well underway


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