ACT Government will fast track procurement of body scanners to minimise strip searches

The ACT Government will fast track the purchase of two full body scanners following the release of an independent review into the use of force which was carried out prior to a strip search of a female detainee earlier this year at Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC).

Minister for Corrections Mick Gentleman, who declared the matter a critical incident earlier this year and referred it to the Inspector for Correctional Services (‘the Inspector’) for review, welcomed the report by the Inspector of a critical incident, titled Use of force to conduct a strip search at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, which was tabled in the Legislative Assembly today.

“The ACT Government is acting immediately and will provide ACT Corrective Services with $450,000 to purchase an additional full body scanner to reduce the need to conduct strip searches,” Minister Gentleman said.

“ACT Corrective Services was already in the process of procuring a full body scanner for the AMC. In light of the Inspector’s recommendation, we’ll now procure two,” he said.

“I understand strip searches can be stressful and traumatising for both detainees and staff, and as a result we would like to minimise strip searching as much as possible.

“Through the procurement of these body scanners, we’re moving towards a future where strip searches are only necessary in a small number of cases and as a last resort.

“I’m thankful we have oversight bodies like the Inspector for Correctional Services to identify where improvements can be made in our processes and policies.

“Our correctional officers work in a difficult, and at times dangerous, environment where they need to strike a balance between safety and security. The safety of staff and detainees is always the highest consideration.

“I’d like to thank the committed staff within ACT Corrective Services for their professionalism and dedication.

“The government is taking the report findings seriously and will formally respond in due course, but will likely agree, or agree in principle, to all nine recommendations.”

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