The safety and security of prisoners, staff and the community are, and must remain, priorities when assessing a prisoner’s leave of absence as the prisoner will not be confined to a secure environment.
Security risk assessments are thorough. Consideration is given to the individual’s behaviour and incidents during incarceration, behaviour during previous leaves of absence and information obtained from community stakeholders about potential risks during attendance. These risks may include knowledge about trafficking contraband, family feuding or escape plans. The security risk assessment may also include determining the capacity for police assistance in the event of an issue arising and the availability of secure accommodation where the funeral occurs in a remote region.
Applications are denied when the assessed risks are deemed too high for effective management. Where attendance is approved, the Department actively seeks to mitigate any security risks. Risk management strategies include allocating appropriate staffing resources and conducting searches on re-entry to the prison. In the past obtaining support from the Emergency Support Group to conduct high security escorts was also used as a strategy however the last time this occurred was in December 2009.
Additionally, the Department’s responsibility to the community extends to considering victim concerns when allowing prisoners to attend funerals. Victim issues are assessed at several points throughout the process for applying for a funeral application, and may involve input from family and community members.
When security or victim issues are a factor in decision making, the outcome is clearly recorded in central files so that decisions can be reviewed.