Confinement and management regimes are mostly consistent with policy

We found confinement and management regime practices across the custodial estate were typically compliant with legislation and policy. However, we identified some discrepancies. The use of s.36(3) orders for temporary separate confinement were often non-compliant at Acacia Prison. And, across the estate we found little evidence to suggest Close Supervision was being used effectively to manage the behaviour of non-conformist prisoners.

Reviews of separate confinement practices both under s.43 and as a punishment found good governance and oversight existed. And, the use of observation management regimes was also generally compliant with policy. However, we reiterate arguments made in previous reports that the long-term confinement of acutely unwell mental health prisoners in inhumane.

The management of prisoners in confinement is often limited to the delivery of basic entitlements

We have no evidence to suggest that there are any systemic issues in the delivery of basic entitlements to confined prisoners, as required in legislation or the Department’s policy. However, the management of prisoners in confinement does not typically extend beyond the delivery of essential needs. We observed limited meaningful human contact being available for prisoners in separate confinement, a lack of in-cell activities for stimulation, and limited opportunities for fresh air and exercise in some cell yards. Mental healthcare is also typically reactive rather than proactive.

Good governance overall, but transparency and oversight are poor in some areas

The Department generally has a good system of governance in place for the use of confinement and management regimes. Policies and local standing orders reflect statutory requirements, establish clear approval and review processes, and outline delegated authorities and reporting requirements.

Despite this, we argue that there is room for improvement with oversight and transparency. Transparency on what entitlements are restricted or removed, to which prisoners, for what time period, and for what reasons are integral to ensuring there is a confident and expansive degree of oversight by the Department.


Page last updated: November 19, 2022
The use of confinement and management regimes