How we work

Monitoring standards | Review methodology | Critical Incidents | Relationship with other oversight

Monitoring standards

The ACT Standards for Adult Correctional Services can be viewed here.

These Standards are based on the elements of a healthy prison, first articulated by the World Health Organisation: detainees are held safely, treated with respect and dignity as human beings, are able to engage in purposeful activity and are prepared for resettlement. They draw on a range of international, national, and local sources.

The ACT standards are tailored for our unique conditions: a small jurisdiction, operating under human rights legislation, and at the time of writing, with one adult correctional facility that detains both remand and sentenced prisoners, women and men. The Standards are informed by relevant ACT law and policy, including the Corrections Management Act 2007 (CMA) as well as operating policies and procedures at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC), which are notifiable instruments under the CMA.

Review methodology

Reviews carried out by the Inspector of Correctional Services are conducted against the Inspector’s published inspection standards, which set out the expectations for treatment and care, and indicators that help assess whether expectations are being met. These Standards set out the criteria for inspection.

During an inspection a number of sources of evidence are used to assess the correctional centre against the standards. These sources of evidence include individual interviews carried out with staff, detainees, visitors and other stakeholders, survey results, group discussions with detainees, documentation, and observation by inspectors.

Inspection reports are published in the ACT Legislative Assembly within 6 months after an inspection is completed. Prior to publication of the report, custodial centre management and the responsible Minister are consulted with and invited to correct any factual inaccuracies within the report.

The Inspector of Correctional Services methodology for conducting reviews is based on international best practice standards. These standards are articulated in documents such as the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT)’s Monitoring Places of detention: a practical guide (2004) and are reflected in practices developed and documented by international human rights monitoring bodies, including the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture and the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture.

The Inspector of Correctional Services' Review Framework sets out this methodology and provides information on the context in which reviews are undertaken. (Note: the Inspection Framework was a previous version of this document)

Critical Incidents

The Inspector of Correctional Services is required to review critical incidents at the AMC. Critical incident is defined in the Inspector of Correctional Services Act 2017 (ACT) to include:

  1. the death of a person;
  2. a person’s life being endangered;
  3. an escape from custody;
  4. a person being taken hostage;
  5. a riot that results in significant disruption to a centre or service;
  6. a fire that results in significant property damage;
  7. an assault or use of force that results in a person being admitted to a hospital;
  8. any other incident identified as a critical incident by a relevant Minister or relevant director-general.

The Inspectorate and ACT Corrective Services have a Memorandum of Understanding concerning their respective roles and responsibilities with regard to the review of critical incidents.

Relationship with other oversight

The role of the Inspector of Correctional Services is to provide comprehensive oversight of, initially, adult detainees from a whole of system perspective.  The Inspector does not handle individual complaints. Other relevant oversight entities related to treatment and care of detainees in the ACT include:

ACT Ombudsman

The ACT Ombudsman's role is to resolve complaints and monitor the actions of government agencies, including ACT Corrective Services.

Official visitors

The role of the Corrections Official Visitors is to provide a monitoring and complaints system for persons detained in a Correctional Centre.  In the ACT, there are currently three Corrections Official Visitors: two general Official Visitors and one Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Official Visitor.

ACT Human Rights Commission

The ACT Human Rights Commission handles complaints in relation to discrimination, and provides services including services for people with a disability, health services, services for children and young people, and services for older persons.