Page 296 - Week 01 - Thursday, 17 February 2011

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Alexander Maconochie Centre—identity bracelets

MR HANSON: Just to put us out of our collective misery, my question is to the minister for corrections and it relates to the radio frequency identification bracelets that went into the commissioning phase in 2009 at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. It is also worth noting that in December 2009 two prisoners were actually able to walk out of the AMC with their bracelets. At that time, the minister stated to the Canberra Times that this was a “teething problem”.

Minister, why has it taken you since 2009 to identify such serious problems with the RFID system that you must take the bracelets offline?

MR CORBELL: The decision to take the bracelets temporarily offline for prisoners is based on advice from Corrective Services, who are responsible for the operation of the system. The problem has arisen because of a fault with the batteries in the prisoner bracelets, as I have previously advised in my statement last week. Those batteries need to be replaced. It is a fault on the part of the manufacturer and the supplier and they will be meeting the full costs of rectifying the problem.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, a supplementary?

MR HANSON: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, when will the RFID system be operating at full capacity and trouble-free at the AMC?

MR CORBELL: The RFID system is still in its commissioning phase. It is part of the contract that we have with the technology provider that they need to demonstrate that the technology is working to its full capacity as specified in the contract that we have with them. Until that commissioning phase is complete and the supplier has demonstrated that the technology is working at the level specified, we will continue to remain in the commissioning phase. I am advised that it is necessary to procure the necessary replacement technology from the supplier in the United States and that will take about six to eight weeks to occur.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary?

MR SESELJA: Minister, what changes have you made to the systems and procedures at the AMC since taking the RFID system off line, to guarantee the safety and security of prisoners and staff?

MR CORBELL: There are no other changes to security arrangements at the AMC. The reason for that is that the RFID system is an optional level of security that sits on top of the very broad range of security measures that are in place. These include, obviously, the physical perimeter and physical controls, gates and otherwise, in the facility as well as electronic surveillance, including pulse detection, the surveillance camera regime, the anti-cowling fencing arrangements and all the other physical forms and electronic forms of security that continue to operate on a day-to-day basis at the AMC to maintain safe custody and a safe environment for all at the facility.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, another supplementary.

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