Ice Addiction

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 15:16 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Police in his capacity as Minister for Correctional Services questions regarding SAPOL and the Department for Correctional Services procedures for dealing with detainees who are addicted to ice.

Leave granted.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN: It was revealed by the Australian Institute of Criminology that Australian prisoners are using amphetamines at record rates and in its most potent form, methamphetamine, which is on the rise. In South Australia, it has been reported that under the watch of the Department for Correctional Services, prisoners have been reported as having ice in their system. Can the minister advise the chamber what the police and DCS procedures are when a person being detained has been identified as being under the influence of ice?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 15:17 ): Yes, it is an unfortunate reality that there are people within our prison population who have drugs. Recently, I was at an international corrections conference and one of the subjects that was being discussed and regularly referred to during the course of the conference was the issue of drugs in prison systems generally.

I learned—and I have to say I am not aware of any prison in the world that is completely free of contraband, whether that be drugs or other forms of contraband that exist within the prison system. Of course, it would be naive to say that South Australian facilities were any exception. By and large, I think it is fair to say that contraband, including drugs, are relatively rare commodities in our prison systems, but again it would be naive to suggest that our prisons are contraband or drug free.

Regarding the issue of ice generally, as was referred to earlier, ice is a concern within the community for a range of reasons, but one of the reasons why it is of particular concern is that it is a drug that leans towards particularly violent behaviour, which is of grave concern to anybody, but of course that is a risk that we want to mitigate in our prison system. Prisons by their nature can be inherently violent places.

We try to reduce the level of violence, and I think by and large that is something that correctional services has achieved good results in, in reducing violence in prison systems, but again, like in any facility in South Australia, we are vulnerable to acts of violence within the prison system. Having ice in the system of any particular prisoner elevates the risk of violence, which is why it is something that needs to be worked on diligently, to ensure that its presence is minimised.

Regarding particular procedures, if a prisoner is found to have contraband in their cell—whether that be drugs or other forms of contraband—they are subject to the internal disciplinary procedures which can occur within a prison. I mentioned earlier that if the good order of a prison is compromised, it is an option available to DCS staff to separate the prisoner, which is one of the more severe punishments that can occur within a prison system. Having seen cells that are used for this separation, I can assure you that this is not somewhere that I would have thought any prisoner would want to find themselves, actually, within the prison system.

For those people who are under the influence of drugs within the prison system then, of course, safety protocols are put in place to preserve the safety of staff—not being subject to an act of violence that may be sought to be rendered upon them as a result of a prisoner being under the influence of ice. If a prisoner is particularly affected by a drug in such a way that it presents a health risk then they could receive treatment, in the context of it being a health issue, through South Australian Prison Health. There are systems in place that Corrections use. If the honourable member wanted more particular details regarding how those policies and procedures operate, I would be more than happy to provide him with a briefing, if he is interested in having one.

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