Tough new laws to stop contraband entering South Australian prisons and the introduction of correctional facility buffer zones to combat the use of drones have successfully passed State Parliament.
The Marshall Liberal Government’s Correctional Services (Accountability and Other Measures) Amendment Bill 2020 passed Parliament on Tuesday.
Minister for Correctional Services Vincent Tarzia said the Bill’s historic passing cements major legislative overhaul that strengthens the security of South Australia’s prisons.
“The Marshall Liberal Government has no tolerance for people who think they can sneak contraband into correctional facilities,” Minister Tarzia said.
“If you’re a visitor caught with contraband inside a correctional facility, you can book yourself a permanent spot behind bars with a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment.
“A maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment will also be applied to a person caught with a controlled drug inside a prison buffer zone (100 metres of any prison), and a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment for possession of a prohibited item within a prison buffer zone.
“The Bill also puts restrictions on unmanned aircraft because drones have no place flying near any prison. People caught doing this will face a maximum fine of $10,000 or 2 years imprisonment.
“Those with clear and deliberate intentions to smuggle contraband will be caught and dealt with.”
The Bill increases the Parole Board membership from 9 to 11 members, increases protection for victims of crime and further enhances prison security.
The landmark passing of the Bill follows South Australia’s nation-leading drop in the rate of recidivism, which was showcased in the national 2021 Report on Government Services (RoGS).
The state’s rate of return to Correctional Services resulting from a new sanction was the lowest in the country at 42.3%, well under the national average of 54.9%. South Australia also had the nation’s lowest rate of return to prison with a new sentence at 34.8%.
The percentage of prisoners involved in education was the second highest in the nation at 70.4%, dwarfing the 32% national average. Almost 40% of prisoners participated in vocational education and training courses. Australia’s average was 21.4%.
As part of the Marshall Government’s record spending in Correctional Services, almost $3 million has been allocated for a High Intensity Treatment Program pilot to deliver improved prisoner rehabilitation outcomes.
A further $500,000 will support the development of a business case for a new rehabilitation prison.