Tough laws on drugs in prisons passed by Parliament

The Marshall Government is enforcing its zero tolerance policy on drugs in our state’s prisons, as tough new laws passed through Parliament this week.

The Correctional Services (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2018 (the Bill) provided for amendments to be made to the Correctional Services Act 1982 (the Act) to provide the power to:

  • prohibit members of outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCG) and organised crime groups from visiting prisons; and
  • institute workplace testing of prison officers, staff and contractors for alcohol and illegal drugs.

Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services Corey Wingard said the Marshall Government has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugs in our state’s prisons.

“Unfortunately, drugs are infiltrating our prisons and those behind bars associated with OMCG attempt to continue criminal activities and associations whilst in custody or recruit new members,” said Minister Wingard.

“The passage of this Bill is the next step in stamping out the scourge of drugs in our prisons and cracking down on members of OMCG.

“The Marshall Government will prohibit members of OMCG visiting their associates in prisons to stop them peddling drugs in prisons and the broader community.”

As at April 2018 a total of 162 prisoners known to be associated in some way with an OMCG were detained in our prisons.

“Prior to these amendments, there was no power in the Act to prevent members of organised crime groups from visiting prisons and associating with prisoners,” said Minister Wingard.

“This passage of this Bill has resulted in an amendment that specifically recognises criminal organisations as defined in the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935.

“In doing so it will enable the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) to work closely with SAPOL to limit the power and control of organised crime groups and sever links between prisoners and their associates.

“The laws also establish drug and alcohol testing for Correctional Services staff, including G4S officers at Mount Gambier Prison, on a random and targeted basis.

“There will be a strict no-tolerance rule for people under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol on prison grounds.

“Ultimately these tough new laws will assist DCS in blocking potential avenues for drug incursion and increase the safety, security and integrity of the prison system,” said Minister Wingard.

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