Protection, safety and security
If a prisoner has concerns for their safety they can be placed in protection, a special area of the prison that is separated from mainstream prisoners.
Prisoners can ask to be put on a protection order, or the General Manager of the prison may choose to put a prisoner on one based on information received. A protection order does not limit the prisoner’s access to family visits or programs.
The prisoner subject to the request must be safeguarded from the when the request is received, until an assessment of the request is complete. Assessments should be completed within seven days.
If the threat is substantiated there are several options available including:
- mediated discussions with staff, the prisoner needing protection and the perceived aggressor
- the transfer of either the prisoner needing protection or the perceived aggressor or
- the prisoner needing protection is placed in Protective Custody.
Protection orders expire usually after either six or twelve months and can be reviewed if the perceived aggressor is discharged or moved. Prisoners will be removed from Protective Custody when the expiry date is reached.
Prisoners must reapply for Protective Custody before this date if they want to continue in Protective Custody. This application will also be assessed
The protected prisoner or an employee can request for Protective Custody to be removed if they feel that it is no longer required. This will change the education and work opportunities available.
Prisoners should ask their case officer for the correct forms to request Protective Custody. If at any time they fear for their safety they can ask any staff member for advice and support.
Sometimes a prison or wing will need to go into ’lock down’ for operational needs. At this time prisoners will be secured in their cells.
A lock down may last for an hour or most of the day. All visits will be cancelled with the exception of health services during lock down.
Strip searches are necessary to keep all prisoners safe. They are done in a dignified manner by a staff member of the same gender.
Pat down searches can also be carried out at any time. Random cell searches are carried out to find prohibited items.
Dog patrols are used to identify drugs. They can be sent to sniff cells, shared areas, and prisoners and property.
Use of force
Force is not used as a form of punishment. It is only used once correctional staff have exhausted every other means to diffuse a situation. All custodial staff are trained in using the minimal force necessary to bring a situation under control.
Force can only be used on reasonable grounds which include:
- in self defence
- to prevent an escape
- to prevent damage to property or
- if there is resistance to a lawful, legitimate instruction.
The level of force used depends on the situation. It used when a prisoner is likely to either:
- injure themselves
- cause a disturbance that is likely to involve others
- produce a weapon
- threaten the safety of others.
Chemical sprays can often be the least harmful way of controlling a situation by temporarily incapacitating a prisoner. Medical staff should be consulted before its use except in emergency situations. As soon as the situation is under control the prisoner will be relocated, decontaminated and then assessed by health staff.
After the use of force
The prisoner is placed in a safe cell away from the situation. They are monitored until their at risk status has been evaluated. As soon as it is safe the prisoner is examined by medical staff and interviewed by correctional staff.
Depending upon the situation an incident team may be set up and the police maybe called.
Clothing or any property involved may be kept as evidence. Staff involved have access to medical, emotional and psychological support including the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Each prison has a register to record incidents.
It collects the name of the person who authorised the use of force, the details of the incident including intervention strategies, the type of force and the result of using force.
Depending upon the situation an incident team may be set up. The police may be called and clothing or any property involved may be kept as evidence. Staff involved have access to medical, emotional and psychological support. We take our staff’s wellbeing exceptionally seriously and have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) staff can access.
Any security camera footage of the incident will be secured.