Body scanning technology to be introduced into Tasmanian prisons

Elise Archer,Minister for Corrections

A priority for our Government is keeping Tasmanians safe and we are committed to continually improving the safety and security of the State’s corrections system.

That’s why our Government will commit $1.3 million in new funding to introduce body scanning technology in the Hobart and Launceston Reception Prisons, and Risdon Prison.

While we want to minimise personal searches as much as possible, personal searches are necessary for the security of all prisons, and not only stop potentially harmful items such as drugs and weapons from entering the prison system, they also reduce the risk of self-harm.

At the same time, Tasmania Prison Service staff understand that entering prison, especially for the first time, can be a traumatic event.

The new body scanners will be another tool to help ensure the safety of our correctional staff, as well as prisoners and detainees. The new canners are able to detect objects on or inside a person’s body and clothing, without the need to physically remove clothing or make any physical contact with the person being searched, providing a less intrusive process for personal searches.

The scanner is able to provide an instant internal image which can reveal contraband such as drugs, mobile phones and weapons.

The introduction of the new body scanners into correctional facilities will lead to increased safety and security, and will minimise the requirement for personal searches

As well as the benefits to those being searched, the scanners will have a positive impact in our correctional facilities through increased safety for staff, reduction in the time required by Correctional Officers to conduct searches and the likely deterrent effect the scanners will have in people attempting to bring contraband into a correctional facility.

As part of the 2020-21 State Budget, our Government has already committed $14 million over four years to meet increasing demand and costs pressures in the Tasmanian Prison Service. Such funding has been provided to address increased prisoner numbers and increased costs related to staffing, court, hospital and other escorts, energy, water, food, clothing, bedding and other prisoner related consumables.

We remain committed to addressing the challenges facing the State’s corrections system.

I can also announce that to further our commitment to keeping Tasmanian communities safe, an additional $2.4 million over two years will be provided to extend Project Vigilance, Tasmania’s electronic monitoring of family violence perpetrators performed by our Monitoring and Compliance Unit, Community Corrections within the Department of Justice. This is in addition to the electronic monitoring as a sentencing option within our corrections system already funded by the Department of Justice.

This follows recent successful trials where an evaluation demonstrated increased safety to family violence victims and survivors, with an overall 82 per cent reduction in high risk incidents.

This $2.4 million in new funding will allow for up to 100 electronic monitoring devices to be fitted regarding family violence perpetrators, whilst also providing for Police supervision and monitoring.

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