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Prison changes to increase rehab and safety

Hon Anne Tolley
Minister of Corrections

25 September 2013

Prison changes to increase rehab and safety

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says a number of prison regulations are being changed which will affect remand and transgender prisoners.

Firstly, remand prisoners will soon have an individual security classification, replacing the current system where all remand offenders are treated as high security.

This will mean that remand prisoners who do not pose a high security risk will have better access to appropriate rehabilitation programmes.

“This Government extended drug, alcohol and education rehabilitation programmes to include remand prisoners,” says Mrs Tolley.

“By removing the automatic high security classification for remand prisoners, we are increasing the rehabilitation opportunities available for those who don’t pose a high safety risk, as they will have a less restrictive prison regime.

“This will mean earlier, and better access to important life skills before they go to trial.”

Secondly, in line with international practice, a more flexible system is being introduced for transgender prisoners.

If the sex on their birth certificate has been changed, these prisoners will be managed in accordance with their legal sex. Transgender prisoners whose sex on their birth certificate has not been changed can apply to be moved into a prison with their identified gender, excluding those serving or facing charges for serious sexual offending. The Chief Executive will consider these applications on a case by case basis.

“Corrections has taken on board concerns about the safety of transgender prisoners, and a request from the Ombudsman to reconsider its policy,” says Mrs Tolley.

“By adopting a more flexible approach around the placement of transgender prisoners, we can address risks of victimisation and assault, while taking into account the welfare of all prisoners.”

There are currently nine transgender offenders in the prison system.

A third regulation change will allow better options for Corrections staff around restraint, when there is an immediate need to protect offenders from self-harm.

ENDS

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