All prisoners are assessed prior to transfer.

Routine transfers

A prisoner can be transferred at any time. Prisoners are responsible for telling family where they are.

Common reasons for a transfer include access to services and facilities, rehabilitation and progression to a lower security prison.

The prisoner is inducted at the new prison and property and approved telephone list transferred with the prisoner.

Security classification transfers

Towards the end of a sentence a prisoner may be transferred to a lower security prison. Misconduct at a lower security prison may result in a transfer to a higher security prison.

Requesting a transfer

A prisoner may want to transfer to another prison to be closer to family or their home community. A prisoner who wishes to be transferred should speak to their case manager and ask for a request form.

Interstate transfers from South Australia

All states in Australia have agreements and legislation allowing the transfer of prisoners.

Some prisoners may be able to request a transfer to another state. This can be done by the prisoner by applying in writing.

There must be a compelling reason such as strong family ties and supporting documentation must be provided. The request should be approved by both states. Applications are limited to one per year and there is no appeals process.

If the transfer is approved the prisoner will become subject to the laws in the state in which they are moving to.

Case managers can provide further details on lodging an application.

Interstate transfers to South Australia

Prisoners in another Australian state who have family or work connections with South Australia may be able to transfer to a South Australian prison.

The prisoner should initiate the process from the prison they are in following appropriate guidelines and procedures. DCS is unable to advise on the process.

Once transferred to South Australia the prisoner will be subject to the laws and jurisdictions of South Australia.

International transfers

Transfers must be arranged between both countries and they must both agree on the conditions of the sentence. This process can take a long time.

Prisoners can apply for transfers to countries that we have agreements with. The final decision lies with the receiving country. The prison may have to pay the cost of the transfer.

The Australian Governments Attorney-General’s Department is responsible for organising and administrating the International Transfer of Prisoners Scheme.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • the prisoner must be sentenced with no appeals or other court matters still to happen
  • the prisoner have at least 6 months remaining on their sentence
  • the prisoner needs to be a citizen of - or have ‘community ties’ to - the country they want to transfer to.


Australia needs to ensure that criminals cannot evade justice by crossing borders.

The Australian Governments Attorney-General’s Department is responsible for managing extradition.