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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 March 2015) . . Page.. 1129 ..

as a way to assert authority—that is, to stand over other prisoners. Measures in place to stop these kinds of items entering and exiting the prison are ineffective, and this is a fact.

Last August I asked a question on notice about the number of contraband seizures over the previous three years. The answer showed quite clearly what can be done if the problem is treated seriously and there is a proactive push to stem this issue. Part of the answer states:

The second half of 2013 shows a notable jump in seizures within the AMC. The predominant reason for this increase is that the AMC conducted a number of extra searches in a targeted effort to both increase general detection as well responding to intelligence regarding the presence of contraband.

The notable jump referred to in this answer is significant. It equates to a doubling of the number of seizures once a concerted effort is made. This should be a regular practice, not just a one-off. For example, in the January to March quarter of 2013, 59 contraband seizures occurred. After the concerted effort referred to by Corrective Services in the answer I quoted above, that number jumped significantly, to 155 seizures in the July to September quarter for the same year. This proves that where there is a will there is a way.

The minister may well get on his feet shortly and say there is no need for a review because we know there is a problem. That is indicative of the attitude to corrections displayed by the minister since he started in the job—that is, simply throw your hands up in the air and say, “We can’t do anything about that. Let’s not bother.” And worse, “Let’s just accept what’s happening and turn a blind eye.” The ACT Labor-Green government is creating a cultural legacy that will take a mammoth effort to turn around.

The most recent public example of contraband in the jail shows just how entrenched the blind-eye culture is. The Canberra Times reported that a prisoner in the AMC on charges of violence was actively using his Facebook account, updating his profile consistently, sometimes on multiple occasions in a day, over a 23-day period. This is a clear breach of policy at the jail, yet it was allowed to continue for almost a month. In August last year a fight between inmates at the jail made its way onto YouTube via a recording from what was suspected to be a mobile phone. Clearly, this recording was made by an inmate in the unit in which the fight was occurring. The most alarming thing about this particular incident was the minister’s response. Mr Rattenbury is quoted in the Canberra Times as saying:

Mr Rattenbury said the proliferation of camera-equipped mobile phones and social media potentially undermined such restrictions. 

He said he had recently attended a corrections ministers’ meeting in Brisbane, where the problem of technology was a focus. “Mobile phones is clearly one of the key issues that corrections systems around the country are facing,” he said.

That was in August last year and we are still no further along in terms of combating these occurrences. Technology is a focus in jails in other jurisdictions but, contrary to

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