At times it is necessary to use force in custody. Custodial officers have the power to use reasonable force to gain compliance with an order, to protect the safety of prisoners and staff, and restrain a person in custody. The use of force presents many risks for staff as well as to people in custody. Unreasonable or inappropriate use of force also brings legal and reputational risks for the Department of Justice.

In 2017 the Department introduced additional oversight of the use of force in the form of local and central committees to examine incidents. Serious incidents are escalated to the central committee, which also examines trends, training gaps and other systemic issues and explores options to reduce the use of force and staff assault incidents.

This review will examine the appropriateness of the use of force in adult facilities.

Review terms of reference:

  1. Is the use of force in custodial facilities consistent with law and policy?
  2. Is the degree of force used the minimum required to control the situation?
  3. Are the local and central use of force committees effective at identifying and addressing issues arising from use of force?

A report on this review is anticipated to be available to the public by early 2021.

Page last updated: 03 Jul 2020

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