ACTCS continues to work collaboratively with oversight agencies across a range of areas, including complaints management, policy consultation and service improvements.
In 2020-21, the ACT Audit Office commenced a performance audit in relation to the procurement of the ‘Romeo 5’, a Court Transport Unit vehicle purchased in 2018 that can transport up to eight detainees and two Correctional Officers at a time. The final report titled Court Transport Unit vehicle – Romeo 5 was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 31 March 2021 containing 23 findings and two recommendations. The ACT Government Response will be tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly in the next reporting period. Similarly, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts is expected to release their report on this audit in the next reporting period.
In 2019-20, the Human Rights Commission commenced two own motion investigations under section48 of the Human Rights Commission Act 2005 into the provision of Islamic services to detainees at the AMC, and access to dental services for detainees. Reports on these reviews are expected to be released in the next reporting period.
Inspector of Correctional Services
The Inspector of Correctional Services Act 2017 (the Act) establishes the independent statutory authority of the ACT Inspector of Correctional Services and allows the Inspector to conduct proactive reviews to identify strengths and areas for improvement for correctional services in the ACT.
Court Transport Unit Review
In 2020, the Inspector undertook a second thematic review pursuant to section18(1)(b) of the Act, which examined the Court Transport Unit (CTU). The Report of a Review of a Correctional Service by the ACT Inspector of Correctional Services: ACT Corrective Services Court Transport Unit 2020, was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 3 December 2020.
The CTU report contains 12 findings and 22 recommendations. The ACT Government Response was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 11 February 2021. The Government agreed to 20 recommendations, agreed in principle to one recommendation, and noted one recommendation.
Critical Incident Reviews
Section 17 of the Act allows the Inspector to review critical incidents at the AMC. Critical incidents are defined in the legislation to include circumstances where a person’s life has been endangered, there is an escape, hostage situation, a riot, fire or serious assault. This function provides insight into broader systemic issues that may be raised by individual incidents. In 2020-21, the Inspector tabled two critical incident reviews in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
The Report of a review of a critical incident by the ACT Inspector of Correctional Services – Riot and serious fires at the Alexander Maconochie Centre on 10 November 2020 was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 31 March 2021. The Report of a review of a critical incident by the ACT Inspector of Correctional Services – Serious fire at the Alexander Maconochie Centre on 14 November 2020 was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 20 April 2021.
The Government Response to these reports will be tabled in the next reporting period.