Some of the Corrections Amendment Act 2013 came into force on 5 March 2013. The remainder of the Act comes into force on 4 June 2013.
The Amendment Act was passed with the aim of removing legislative barriers to the safe, secure, humane, effective, and efficient management of prisoners. It amends the Corrections Act 2004 to:
- prohibit tobacco and smoking (with consequential amendments to sections of the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 that regulate smoking in prisons)
- accelerate the approval process for authorised property for prisoners
- enhance the effectiveness of strip searching prisoners by introducing a single procedure and specifying additional circumstances in which such searches must be carried out
- enhance the effectiveness of procedures for testing prisoners suspected of using drugs or alcohol
- improve legislative provisions for prisoner health services – including creating a new statutory role of Health Centre Manager and changing the role of Medical Officers
- regulate the self-employment of prisoners and the sale of their products
- enhance the ability to use safe and humane mechanical restraints on prisoners
- improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the scrutiny of prisoners’ mail by enabling non-custodial staff to carry out this function
- improve safety and security in prisons by empowering the Chief Executive to obtain from phone companies the unlock codes of seized mobile phones
- assist criminal prosecutions, while appropriately protecting privacy, by enabling recordings of prisoners’ phone calls to be routinely retained for two years rather than six months
- align requirements for the standard of drinking water in prisons to the requirements applying to other buildings such as schools and hospitals
- assist the effective management of prisons under contract by enabling the Chief Executive to delegate powers and functions to a contractor or to staff of such a contractor
- avoid overlapping responsibilities in relation to the custody of accused prisoners attending court (through a minor amendment to the Courts Security Act 1999).