Page 5477 - Week 14 - Thursday, 30 November 2017

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

more thorough response to the point Mr Moss made. I want to reflect that in the discussion today.

The bill aims to promote the continuous improvement of correctional centres and services through their systematic review and through independent and transparent reporting. It aims to reflect the requirements and expectations around the establishment of a national preventive mechanism under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, otherwise known as OPCAT, and other international guidelines created to ensure the humane treatment of people deprived of liberty.

The establishment of an inspector of correctional services is an important step in the oversight of our correctional centres and services. The inspector will examine and review correctional centres and correctional services at least once every two years. That is a full-scale review, but they also have the ability to review critical incidents and to provide independent reports to the ACT Legislative Assembly.

These functions ensure a systematic and preventative approach to the oversight of correctional facilities and services in the ACT and enable the inspector to review critical incidents through a best practice correctional lens. I frame this as both a prospective and retrospective take on things. The two-year review is designed to be preventative, to be prospective and drive that continuous improvement, but the powers to review matters that have taken place are also about ensuring there is strong external scrutiny of things that have happened.

The inspector’s review powers include circumstances where: a person’s life has been endangered; there is an escape from custody; a person has been taken hostage; a riot has occurred which resulted in significant disruption to a centre or service; a fire has occurred which resulted in significant property damage; an assault or use of force has occurred which resulted in a person being admitted to a hospital; or an incident identified by the responsible minister or director-general has been referred to the inspector for review. There is a very broad range of scope there for the inspector to be engaged. The bill also requires the inspector, if appropriate and practicable, to consult with people or use staff suitable to the cultural background or vulnerability of any detainee involved in a matter being examined or reviewed.

I will come back to the appointment of the inspector when we get to the amendment later, as there are a few important points to be made in that regard. Let me turn at the moment to the inspector’s powers. Article 20 of the OPCAT specifically states that in order to enable a preventative mechanism, such as the inspector of correctional services, to fulfil its mandate, it must be granted access to all information concerning the number of persons deprived of their liberty; access to all information referring to the treatment of those persons as well as their conditions of detention; access to all places of detention and their installations and facilities; and the liberty to choose the places they want to visit and the people they wish to interview. These powers facilitate a proactive inspection regime that acts as a more effective prevention measure to protect against harm than simply responding to allegations of harm once they have occurred.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video