Outlaw bikie gang and criminal organisation members seeking to visit prisoners will be given the boot from South Australian jails under tough new Marshall Government laws which will be proclaimed today.
Amendments to the Correctional Services Act 1982 mean that domestic visitors who have been identified as members, associates, or those who associate with criminal organisations will be prohibited from visiting prisoners at all South Australian prisons.
The amendments, to be proclaimed today, will come into force on 25 March 2019 and will assist the Department for Correctional Services (DCS) to block potential avenues for drug incursion and increase the safety, security and integrity of the prison system.
The amendments enable DCS to work closely with South Australia Police to limit the power and control of criminal organisations, and sever links between prisoners and their associates.
Prison search operations conducted over the last quarter of 2018 resulted in significant numbers of contraband items found that could be linked to criminal organisations.
The operations involved staff from the department’s Security and Emergency Management Group, Emergency Response Group, Dog Squad, and prison management.
The searches uncovered a significant amount of contraband, including over 20 mobile phones, a number of phone chargers and cables, and liquid, powder and tablet-form drugs.
Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Corey Wingard, said the amendments are vitally important to help stop the trafficking of drugs into prisons.
“Prisons have traditionally been prime locations for members of criminal organisations to recruit new members. These same groups also attempt to continue their criminal activities and associations whilst in custody,” he said.
“This includes seeking to profit from the introduction and distribution of contraband to prisoners. Drugs and associated contraband that make it into the prison system are also considered a valuable currency.”
Significant investment has been made in strengthening security across the state’s prisons, including sophisticated security measures such as biometric security gates, drug detection technologies, ion scanners and baggage x-ray technologies.
Chief Executive of Department for Correctional Services (DCS), David Brown, said DCS closely monitors the activities of prisoners and their visitors to intercept and reduce the flow of contraband.
“Unfortunately no prison system in the world can boast a completely contraband-free environment. However, DCS is committed to stopping contraband from entering the prison system through targeting and stopping Organised Crime,” said David Brown.
“These amendments will be another avenue we can utilise to stop contraband entering the prison system, resulting in increased safety and security.”