DEPARTMENT FOR CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, $280,964,000
Mr Bell substituted for Mr Wingard.
Mr Pederick substituted for Mr Williams.
Hon. A. Piccolo, Minister for Disabilities, Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety.
Mr D. Brown, Chief Executive, Department for Correctional Services.
Mr C. Sexton, Executive Director, Business and Information Services, Department for Correctional Services.
Ms K. Flannery, Acting Manager, Executive Services, Department for Correctional Services.
Ms G. McInerney, Acting Executive Services Officer, Department for Correctional Services.
Mr N. Lombardi, Chief of Staff.
Mr J. Agness, Ministerial Adviser.
The CHAIR: Welcome to the Minister for Correctional Services and his advisers. I declare the proposed payment open for examination. I refer measures to portfolio statement, Volume 1. I call on the minister to make a statement if he wishes and to introduce his advisers.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I see that my cheat notes are wrong again: according to my cheat notes Mr Brown is sitting on the wrong side of me. I have with me David Brown, the Chief Executive Officer, and on my left is Chris Sexton, the Executive Director of Business Information Services. Behind me is Katrina Flannery, Acting Manager, Executive Services, and Gemma McInerney, Acting Executive Services Officer. There are some other staff in the galleries and my adviser, James, is behind me.
The CHAIR: Minister, do you have an opening statement?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes, I do. During 2014-15, the Department of Correctional Services continued to achieve its objective of effectively managing the prisons system and community corrections while contributing to the public safety and reducing reoffending in this state. In saying that, given the nature of this dynamic portfolio, it has not been without its challenges.
As members are aware, there has been a continued growth of the state's prisoner population, and the department has faced constraints in relation to available capacity, which the member for Morialta has pointed out a few times in parliament. First, I want to ensure that the department continues to manage capacity and service demand pressures by progressing options for future expansion across the system, and this remains our top priority.
In 2014-15, I can advise that the department commissioned 183 additional prisoner beds across eight institutions. Furthermore, there will be 20 beds to come online at the Adelaide Women's Prison in August 2015 (next month) and 26 beds in the high dependency unit at Yatala Labour Prison to come online in November 2015. The high dependency unit will provide inpatient mental health assessment and treatment services for prisoners presenting with multiple and complex needs and a separate unit will cater for aged and infirm prisoners with high-care needs.
Port Augusta Prison will also have another 12 beds come online in late 2015. There are also two new projects which will significantly contribute to easing the service demand pressures. These are 112 beds at Port Augusta Prison, with an estimated completion date of June 2017, and 112 beds at Mount Gambier Prison, with an estimated completion date of 2018, which I think was part of our announcement from the Mid-Year Budget Review, from recollection.
Not only is the department looking at options within the prison system to manage the increasing prisoner numbers, it is also considering other alternatives. This is aligned with the work being undertaken by the Criminal Justice Sector Reform Council, of which I am a member, and requires the cooperation and commitment of all criminal justice sector agencies. Whilst there is a focus on diverting first-time offenders from entering custody and reducing reoffending through treatment and rehabilitation, any strategies that might also alleviate the pressure on prison capacity are being given active consideration by the council.
In regard to diversion, we are mostly looking at offenders who pose a low risk of causing further harm to the South Australian community, but the need to impose a suitably intensive penalty remains. The Minister for Criminal Justice Sector Reform recently released a discussion paper on better sentencing options. The paper looks at a range of appropriate sentencing options for offenders who commit crimes, while emphasising that community protection must remain the primary objective. This shows the government's commitment to consultation, and I urge all members to read the paper.
The department is also continuing its commitment to bring greater attention to the needs of women and mothers within South Australian prisons. The department continues to improve its service delivery to female prisoners and ultimately aims to reduce the reoffending rate of this offender cohort. Research has shown that female prisoners who offend have multiple, complex and inter-related needs. Therefore, an understanding of female criminogenic needs is required to develop appropriate and effective responses to women who offend.
In 2015-16, targets for the department in relation to female prisoners at the Adelaide Women's Prison include the ongoing delivery of a parenting program, structured activities during visit sessions that are age appropriate for visiting children, a birth to 5 years old Learning Together playgroup, and the delivery of a parenting program. The department has also doubled the number of women released to home detention from 26 in 2013-14 to 50 in 2014-15 and has also opened 24 pre-release beds for women to assist with their reintegration back into the community. This will further enhance mother-child contact for prisoners in the community setting.
I would now like to take this opportunity to highlight efforts being made in regard to Community Corrections. The department has targeted resources towards those offenders who present the highest threat to public safety, most significantly with the increasing number of offenders on electronic monitoring. Transition to the new GPS-capable electronic monitoring equipment commenced in late August 2014 and was completed in early January 2015. The department currently leases 610 electronic monitoring units and subleases 25 of these units to the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion to monitor juvenile offenders.
This equipment allows for higher intensity supervision of offenders, particularly those at high risk, and is proving to be a valuable tool in the protection of the community. I can advise that, since its implementation, the Intensive Compliance Unit and case management staff have breached a number of offenders for not complying with scheduled passes, leaving their approved inclusion zone and/or being dishonest about their movements.
The department has also had the opportunity to give back to the community in response to the devastating Sampson Flat fires that occurred in January. The Cadell Country Fire Service is staffed with custodial employees, members of the public, and prisoners who have maintained their training and level 1 and level 2 qualifications.
I can advise that Cadell CFS assisted at Sampson Flat on 3, 4 and 6 January. Tasks included protecting structures and conducting fire suppression operations to prevent fires from jumping over containment lines. I am very pleased to say that prisoners displayed commitment and effort, and I commend them on their professionalism and outstanding efforts during this difficult time.
The department recently participated in NAIDOC Week. It was held between 5 and 12 July, and is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements. It is also an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country.
It is well recognised that prisoners who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander are over-represented within the correctional system, and I am pleased to say that all institutions participated in NAIDOC in some way, including the Adelaide Remand Centre, which also involved the Aboriginal Sobriety Group and the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement coming in to talk to the prisoners. With the Adelaide Remand Centre set to be smoke-free from March 2016, Nunkuwarrin Yunti took the opportunity to explore giving up smoking with prisoners. The Aboriginal Sobriety Group discussed ways to help prisoners with drug and alcohol-related issues when released from prison.
It has been a busy year for the department, and I would like to acknowledge that it could not respond to its current challenges without the dedication of management and staff alike. This commitment was demonstrated on the weekend, when the department Operations Security Unit worked with police in a joint operation, Dedicate, at Mount Gambier Prison. The Operations Security Unit dogs (otherwise known as the Dog Squad) were used to assist handlers to conduct a sweep of the prison. While no contraband was found inside the prison, SAPOL turned away 15 visitors, banning four for 12 months and arresting one for allegedly attempting to take drugs into the facility. This dedication keeps our prisons safe from criminal activity.
I would like to thank Corrections staff, who continue to demonstrate their professionalism when managing prisoners in custody, deploying additional capacity, and managing a significant increase in some community-based orders such as home detention and intensive bail supervision. The hard work and professional behaviour of staff are further commended—
Mr Gardner: Time.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: —given the complexities of the environment in which they work.
The CHAIR: I think that was bang on time, member for Morialta. Do you have an opening statement at all?
Mr GARDNER: No.
The CHAIR: Straight to questions.
Mr GARDNER: I am going to Budget Paper 4, Volume 1, page 151—
Mr Bell interjecting:
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Member for Mount Gambier, that is so unkind.
Mr GARDNER: —at activity indicators. All of the performance and activity indicators identify an estimated result for the end of the 2013-14 financial year. As we are now past 30 June, can you please provide us with the figures for 30 June for those eight indicators, and if you take it on notice then I will not blame you.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Okay, I will take it on notice then. Alternatively, I could do it now and just take up the time, could I not?
Mr GARDNER: I think more highly of you than that, sir.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Okay, I will take it on notice then.
Mr GARDNER: Thank you. What is the highest number of prisoners that Corrections had to manage during the 2014-15 financial year, and on what date was that?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: You want the peak figure, don't you?
Mr GARDNER: That is the question, sir. Page 151—it is the activity indicator to do with prisoner population.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The peak figure for 2014-15 actually occurred on 30 June 2015—it is good to see that our prisoners are financially literate—and there were 2,737.
Mr GARDNER: Is 2,737 the highest number of prisoners that have ever been in our system?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes. In that year to date, do you mean? What is your question?
Mr GARDNER: From 1836 until 30 June 2015, is 2,737 the record?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: That is correct.
Mr GARDNER: Perhaps I could ask a different way: what is the highest number of prisoners Corrections has had to manage so far in this financial year?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: On 17 July, we had to manage 2,772 prisoners.
Mr GARDNER: 2,772?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes.
Mr GARDNER: Thus creating a new record.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: That would be correct.
Mr GARDNER: What is the approved capacity of our prisons as at now?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: It is—
Mr GARDNER: Actually, if you have the 17 July figure, that would be even better, but I suspect it is the same number.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: It is, yes. The approved capacity at 27 July 2015 is 2,715.
Mr GARDNER: So we had 2,772 in the system and a capacity of 2,715, which by my back-of-my-brain calculations suggest about 57 in surge capacity. That would suggest to me that the City Watch House was full, Holden Hill was probably full and I am guessing there were also prisoners in the infirmary at Port Augusta and a few in cars. Is that a correct description of the situation?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: A few in what did you say?
Mr GARDNER: A few in the back of G4S cars being transported from place to place?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: No, I am advised that that is not the case.
Mr GARDNER: Perhaps a simple question: if we had 2,772 in the system and there is approved capacity of 2,715, where were the rest?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I can let you know exactly. In the Adelaide City Watch House we have 38 beds available for surge, at Holden Hill we currently have 17 beds for surge, in Mount Gambier we have eight beds for surge, in Port Lincoln we now have 24 beds for surge (as of March this year), and in Port Augusta we have six beds. So, as you can see, the surge capacity does cater for that number.
Mr GARDNER: Can you identify where at Mount Gambier, Port Lincoln and Port Augusta those surge facilities are?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I will ask the CE to give that detail.
Mr BROWN : The surge beds of eight referred to in Mount Gambier are in the Waawor Unit, and they are located in the four-bed dormitory cells, or shared cells. There are four of those units in total and there are an extra two prisoners per each of those units.
Mr GARDNER: Can I just clarify that part? There are four rooms in that unit that are usually occupied by two prisoners, but when you go into surge they go up to four prisoners per cell?
Mr BROWN : No, they are designed to accommodate four prisoners and they go up to six, I believe.
Mr GARDNER: So they are four-bed cells that become six, and there are four of those?
Mr BROWN : That's correct. That's Mount Gambier. At Port Lincoln we had an additional 12 beds in the Bluefin Unit, which is a low security unit at that facility, and that involved an extra prisoner being placed into the 12 single cells in that unit, meaning that there were two people sharing each of those rooms. The six beds in Greenbush are six beds going into single cells to create shared accommodation in those locations. I think that was the list you asked for.
Mr GARDNER: The six at Greenbush, that is Port Augusta, is it not?
Mr BROWN : It is.
Mr GARDNER: So that is six single cells that get doubled up, which creates your surge capacity. At Port Lincoln you identified 12 rooms in the Bluefin Unit that can be doubled up to create 12 beds, but the minister identified 24 beds, so where are the 12 others?
Mr BROWN : Sorry, yes; the other 12 beds are in a facility used for association in Bluefin. So those beds were used for a short period in June-July of this calendar year.
Mr GARDNER: So the facility used for association—I am just trying to think of the layout at the Port Lincoln Prison. I do not know if that is an area I visited myself, but does 'association' effectively mean where families might meet inmates and they transform to beds? Can you give us a bit more detail about what room is used for those 12 extra?
Mr BROWN : Certainly. No, it is not a visits area. Family do not access that area. It is an association area in the accommodation unit itself.
Mr GARDNER: So a common room?
Mr BROWN : A common room is another way to refer to it, yes.
Mr GARDNER: So one large room with 12 beds placed in it as extra space during that surge period?
Mr BROWN : That's correct.
Mr GARDNER: So that total of 93—38 at the City Watch House, 17 at Holden Hill, eight at Mount Gambier, 24 at Port Lincoln and six at Port Augusta—is the total surge capacity in the system right now, which means that in addition to the approved capacity of 2,715, we are looking at 2,808 as the most that Corrections is capable of dealing with at the moment under present arrangements?
Mr BROWN: There are 106 surge beds available in the system. We went through some of those in the areas you requested—
Mr GARDNER: So there are 13 more beds that have not been listed today.
Mr BROWN: Yes.
Mr GARDNER: Just to be clear, I think the earlier answer identified 38 at the Watch House—
Mr BROWN: That's correct.
Mr GARDNER: —17 at Holden Hill, eight at Mount Gambier, 24 at Port Lincoln, and six at Port Augusta, which I count as 93. You are saying that there are 106 surge beds, so where are the other 13?
Mr BROWN: As at the end of the financial year, we reverted back to 12 surge beds at Port Lincoln rather than 24. At Mount Gambier there were 23 surge beds, so we have not listed all of those. Similar to Port Lincoln, we have accommodated surge prisoners in a common area at Mount Gambier in the Waawor Unit—
Mr GARDNER: That would be 15?
Mr BROWN: There were 12 in that area at Mount Gambier. At Holden Hill we referred to 17; we can actually accommodate 19 at Holden Hill.
Mr GARDNER: So with the surge capacity of 106—I want to be clear so that I do not misquote you—38 at the City Watch House is correct, 19 is the maximum at Holden Hill but you try to make it only 17. That brings us to 57. Mount Gamier is actually 23, which is the four 4-bedroom dorm cells which can go to six, so that is eight of them, and there are 12 that can be in the common unit, which comes to 20. Then there are three other beds somewhere at Mount Gambier.
Mr BROWN: I think, from recollection, it was 15 in the common area and not 12 to make up that number.
Mr GARDNER: Okay, so 15 in the common area at Mount Gambier. That brings us to 80. There are just 12 at Port Lincoln now—
Mr BROWN: Yes.
Mr GARDNER: That is 92, and then there are six at Port Augusta, which is 98. You have told us that there is a surge capacity of 106; we have just come to 98, so is there—
Mr BROWN: I have not listed the eight at Yatala.
Mr GARDNER: Okay. Where are they?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: In Yatala Labour Prison—
Mr GARDNER: Yatala Labour Prison is a large place, sir.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Grand Junction Road.
Mr GARDNER: We visited together, sir. Where in Yatala are they?
Mr BROWN: I believe we are referring to beds in the infirmary at Yatala.
Mr GARDNER: So the Yatala infirmary. Thank you; that is comprehensive now. Can I ask for the projected daily average prisoner population for the 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 years?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: You can. Did you say 2016-17—
Mr GARDNER: The next three after this one, 2016-17 being the first. Just to clarify it, the 2016-17 figure is identified as 2,771 in the budget papers. Is that still correct?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: It is actually 2,772.
Mr GARDNER: So it is up to 2,772—
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: For 2016-17, based on current trends, we anticipate 2,853. Again, based on current trends in 2017-18 we anticipate 2,937 and in 2018-19, based on current trends, we anticipate 3,024. These figures do not take into account any reductions which may result from the reforms in development at the moment.
Mr GARDNER: Sure, because that is largely going to be reliant on legislation which has not happened yet.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes; but hopefully it will happen this year.
Mr GARDNER: That is up to you, sir.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Actually it is the Attorney-General's legislation.
Mr GARDNER: I believe the cabinet speaks with one voice. The figure of 2,772 daily average prisoner population for this year represents a component of the approved capacity, which has been identified as 2,715. The approved capacity in the budget papers is 2,381 secure, 392 open. Can you possibly provide for us the breakdown between secure and open in that approved capacity at present of 2,715?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The CEO is not quite clear on your question. Can you just rephrase the question?
Mr GARDNER: Earlier we learnt that approved capacity at the moment is 2,715. How many of those are secure and how many of those are open? This is again the activity indicator on page 151, which breaks up all of that secure approved capacity by those two meters.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The CEO will provide that information.
Mr BROWN: I think I am correct in saying that the number that is shown in the agency statement in terms of capacity in 2015-16 at 392 is the number that we would have had at the end of this financial year, and so the remaining beds—I am not as quick at calculating in my head—are secure beds.
Mr GARDNER: So we are 2,715 at the moment and 319 of those are open, and the secure is the rest?
Mr BROWN: Yes.
Mr GARDNER: Can you please provide the projected approved capacity in both categories, secure and open, for the 2016-17, the 2017-18 and the 2018-19 years?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I will take that on notice. The two builds which I mentioned a little earlier are only secure beds, so the increase in secure beds, I don't anticipate any change.
Mr BROWN: There is nothing approved at this stage to increase the beds.
Mr GARDNER: So there are no more open beds coming along?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Planned; no.
Mr GARDNER: That's fine. Can I ask a straightforward question then, which you are welcome to take on notice as well if the answer is not present. Are you able to provide the projected approved capacity for those three years without the break-up?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I can do that. The projected figures, based on our current build program and what has been approved by cabinet—because cabinet speaks with one voice, as you indicated—2015-16 is 2,773, 2016-17 is 2,885, and 2017-18 is 2,997.
Mr GARDNER: And 2018-19?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: At this stage, it is 2,997, because the current announced build program is what we have on the program at this point in time.
Mr GARDNER: So until and unless there are legislative issues that will be likely to bring down the number of prisoners, or alternatively cabinet approves extra infrastructure—or both—in that 2018-19 year we are going to be confronted with a daily average prisoner population of 3,024 and approved capacity at 2,997. Is that correct to say so?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: That is correct. In the absence of any legislative reforms or in the absence of any new build or expansion, yes, that is correct.
Mr GARDNER: Just in relation to the daily average prisoner population, the estimated result for 2014-15 was 2,693. I think you have already taken on notice what the actual will be, but the increase from 2,693 last year to 2,772 this year is about 3 per cent. Last year, the prison population increased 11 per cent, and the year before it increased about the same. Why has corrections forecast such a small increase this financial year than has been the case over the last two years?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: We will need to take that one on notice.
The CHAIR: The member for Kaurna, I believe, has a question.
Mr PICTON: Thank you very much, Chair. I would like to ask the minister in relation to Budget Paper 4, Volume 1, pages 150 and 151, can the minister inform the committee about the electronic monitoring of offenders?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: A very good question member for Kaurna and one which I clearly was not prepared for. The use of electronic monitoring for offenders in the community has proven to be an effective tool which directly contributes to public safety. Electronic monitoring is about keeping an eye on high-risk offenders. It provides an extra layer of supervision with offenders being subject to greater scrutiny. I should say 'higher risk' rather than 'high risk'; it is a relative terminology.
Some of you may have seen the bracelets that are fitted to offenders' ankles. I certainly did when I went the doctor's surgery one day. I saw this piece of jewellery on this person's ankle and I thought, 'Oh, he must be a client of mine.'
Transition to new GPS capable-electronic monitoring equipment commenced in late August 2014 and was completed in early January 2015. The Department for Correctional Services uses electronic monitoring to aid the supervision of offenders on intensive bail supervision and home detention as well as some parolees.
I am pleased to report that as part of the 2014 state election commitments, the government committed to funding an additional 200 GPS units at a cost of $2.258 million to monitor offenders in the community. This commitment complemented amendments to legislation to electronically monitor high-risk offenders, mainly around sex offenders. I can also advise that the department has commenced monitoring offenders considered and approved by the Commissioner for Police, pursuant to section 66N of the Child Sex Offenders Registration Act 2006.
The department recognised that with these legislative amendments there would be an increase in the number of offenders requiring monitoring and supervision. In addition, higher-intensity supervision would be expected for the high-risk offenders targeted for GPS monitoring. The department currently leases 610 electronic monitoring units and subleases 25 of these units to the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion to monitor juvenile offenders.
The technology has enabled the department to set exclusion and inclusion zones for each offender, to ensure the offender is where they are supposed to be. Additionally, if the department is aware that a victim lives in, for example, the suburb of Mile End, that suburb can be set as an exclusion zone for that particular offender. Hopefully this increased protection will enable some victims to sleep more soundly at night.
GPS technology also provides immediate access to real-time data. This means swifter responses by corrections or SAPOL if an offender does breach a condition or enter an exclusion zone. The new system also has the ability to detect offenders who are tampering with their ankle bracelet or device. This enables the intensive compliance staff to immediately respond to the offender's last known location.
The previous system was unable to identify an offender's last known location once they had left their primary residence. This type of monitoring can significantly assist offenders to comply with the conditions of their order and further support them to live offence-free lifestyles. It also balances the needs of the public in regards to contributing to community safety through providing a high level of monitoring and supervision. This government is committed to ensuring safer communities for each and every one of us. Just to mention, it is also a feature of the proposed new parole system which is currently before this house.
The Hon. P. CAICA: My question relates to Budget Paper 4, Volume 1, page 149. Minister, can you inform the committee about the department's Operational Security Unit (OSU)?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Since the department's Operational Security Unit re-formed in August 2014, it has undertaken 185 search operations which has included 1,868 cell searches, 2,054 prisoner searches and 1,585 visitor searches. These searches yielded 166 positive indications by the dogs. Today I met one of the dogs whose name was Bolt—a very friendly dog, too, but he does the job well. The dogs have also found a number of items such as methamphetamines, marijuana, steroids and other illicit items.
The primary focus of the unit is to maximise the safety and security of staff, prisoners and the community, and to provide drug detection and specialist support, including an armed response capability. The Operations Security Unit—which I will call dog squad for short—concentrates on reducing the risks presented by contraband entering prisons by strengthening access control processes and mechanisms. The unit's work also impedes the operation of criminal gangs within the prison system. We have a few people who, unfortunately, are in that situation.
The unit's highly-trained officers are authorised to carry firearms and as well as operating in prisons and community correctional centres they provide armed support for escorts of high-security and high-risk prisoners. The dogs play a crucial role in helping to fight the war on drugs in our prisons. The unit currently has four passive alert detection dogs and one general purpose dog. There are four males and one female—it is clear we have a gender imbalance there.
The general purpose dog is a German Shepherd and is trained to provide handler and staff protection as well as conduct area searches for drugs. The four PAD dogs are Labradors which are trained to conduct searches of people and areas to sniff out a range of drugs. A dog's sense of smell is much more sensitive than that of humans and it enables them to discriminate between the faintest of odours.
These dogs and their handlers undergo extensive specialist training in Queensland—and this is a 12-week program—to refine the dog's ability to detect various drugs. The accredited training is considered to be amongst the best of its type in Australia and is used by a number of other correctional jurisdictions.
You may be aware that on the weekend there was a joint SAPOL and Corrections operation at Mount Gambier Prison. In a first, a camera was fitted to one of the dogs as it assisted its handlers in a sweep of the prison. While no contraband was found inside the prison, SAPOL turned away 15 visitors from the 61 they checked, four visitors were banned for 12 months and one was arrested for allegedly attempting to take drugs into the facility.
Like all jurisdictions we face major challenges from gangs and other criminal elements who seek to introduce drugs and weapons into the prison system. The dog squad is critical to meeting this challenge and I would like to commend the staff and dogs for their hard work and dedication. What they do is complement the work of custody officers and SAPOL and are not there to replace either. By doing all three we send out a very strong message that if you do something wrong you are likely to be caught.
Mr GARDNER: I refer to Budget Paper 4, Volume 1, pages 144 and 145, Workforce summary and net cost of services. Does the government have any plans or has the government done any scoping work on getting any services privatised in the coming year or over the forward estimates, apart from those services which are already operating under the G4S contract?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: No.
Mr GARDNER: Last year the CEO identified four sets of savings that the department was seeking to implement and, for clarity, I will go through them. The first was looking at hours of operation in some facilities and redesigning those; the second was making increased use of prisoner industries to deliver support services; the third was the reorganisation of Community Corrections, especially in the northern country region; and the fourth was general productivity improvements. How did we go?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I can advise the following achievements in terms of those strategies.
Mr GARDNER: I think 'savings' was the word he used last year—savings initiatives.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I was going to give you the figure. By 'achievement', I meant that we actually did it, therefore we achieved it. It must mean a different thing in the eastern suburbs, I suppose. In terms of the women's prison and the AP Centre, site integration, we saved $400,000; Marla and Cooper Pedy CCC, $500,000; increased use of prisoner labour, we've saved $600,000; reduction in discretionary spending, we made a saving of $250,000; and, vacancy management, we saved $3 million.
Mr GARDNER: So $3 million worth of savings there. Page 149 identified an increase in cost.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: No, it was not a total of $3 million, it was $3 million, plus the amounts given above.
Mr GARDNER: So $3 million was the last figure and not the total?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes, that is right. I am advised that the target was $5.2 million and we made $4.75 million in savings.
Mr GARDNER: So, nearly achievement.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes.
Mr GARDNER: Budget Paper 4, Volume 1, page 149 outlines that the budgeted net cost of providing services in 2014-15 was $185.4 million, the estimated result was $194.06 million. What was the actual result for the net cost of providing services for 2014-15?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Unfortunately, we will have to wait a little longer as we are still finalising those figures. I will make them available.
Mr GARDNER: I will ask a question based on the estimated result, which was $194 million, which was $8.5 million higher than was budgeted. So, with $4.7 million worth of savings achieved, and $8.5 million greater in the actual result, that suggests to me there was some $13 million in expenses that came about, I am assuming as a blowout in prisoner numbers led to overflow into police cells. Can you confirm for us whether that was the case and, if there are other aspects, what were those other aspects?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: We are predicting a year end balanced budget after adjusting for the $8.1 million in unfunded research expenditure during and including 2014-15, which was revised down from an initial $9 million. In terms of the figures, the $8.6 million increase in net cost of services is predominantly due to the funding for the commissioning and operating cost of 156 beds to commence operations in 2014-15, which is $7.5 million.
You raise a very good question here, and I will explain why. The way Treasury deals with the way we are funded, it implies literally what you just said. You only are funded for the approved average beds that you have, and therefore if you have more prisoners, which we invariably do because we cannot predict exact growth, that is seen as additional funding. As you can image, we cannot send people back or say that this is an elective facility, come back some other time. Also, funding to undertake the development of a business case regarding future prisoner infrastructure cost $1 million.
Mr GARDNER: What payments have been made to SA Police in the 2014-15-year?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: For the use of the cells?
Mr GARDNER: Or for anything else. I think there was at least one historical invoice where police tried to reclaim some funds from Corrections as well.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The department has reimbursed SAPOL for additional costs incurred for overtime, meals, etc., in December/January—and this is something the commissioner mentioned earlier—$21,000: I think that is one you are referring to. During 2014-15 also, Corrections paid SAPOL for City Watch House costs relating to costs incurred in 2008, which is $42,000.
Mr BELL: Minister, could you just detail what is the most cost-effective prison to run in the state of South Australia?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Is that because it might be in your electorate?
Mr BELL: I just want to have that confirmed, if indeed that is the case. I have heard the rumours.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The CEO will provide some more detail to that answer.
Mr BROWN : Firstly, we have eight correctional facilities across the state. Each of those facilities performs a very specific role and function in the system, so a straight cost comparison between those facilities would not be legitimate. For example, the low security part of the Adelaide Pre-Release Centre is going to have a different cost profile to the high security part of Yatala Labour Prison. Likewise, an open campus prison like Mount Gambier, which is targeted for medium and low-security prisoners is going to have a different cost profile to Port Augusta Prison, which caters for all classifications and both secure and open custody. I am happy to take on notice the request for some other information around the cost profile of each of our facilities.
Mr BELL: Minister, is there any intention to increase the rating for the Mount Gambier Prison to maximum security?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: No.
Mr BELL: Is it also true, then, that the perimeter fencing in the latest upgrade has been set at a maximum security rating?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: The CEO will answer that.
Mr BROWN : When we undertook the last two infrastructure upgrades at Mount Gambier, we undertook a common practice to construct outside the secure perimeter for the 108-bed Waawor unit and the 84-bed independent living units that have recently been commissioned, then we construct or cut over the perimeter around those two buildings. The standard of the perimeter's security has not changed, so the perimeter's security at Mount Gambier has always been at what we would consider a high security standard, but the way in which the facility is operated is an open-campus medium/low-security programs and industry-orientated prison.
Mr BELL: There is no intention to change that?
Mr BROWN : No.
Mr BELL: Budget Paper 4, Volume 1, page 153 talks about conducting a review into 'community corrections supervision standards and integrate home detention into case management'. Could you just detail a little bit around that home detention into case management and just some background? I have had a prison warden come and see me regarding an inmate who is on home detention but lives directly across the road from where he is located, and that is causing some issues obviously for he and his family. Will any review into the case management and home detention take in factors such as location of existing wardens and released prisoners?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I will get the CEO to answer that in detail. I am familiar with the case. It would be fair to say I have received correspondence on this matter, not by the employee. The correspondence has not come from the employee. It would be fair to say that it is not as simple as perhaps it has been portrayed to you, given that these require court orders and the flow of information and knowledge. I will ask the CEO to provide more details to the extent that we can in a public forum.
Mr BROWN : The Intensive Compliance Unit, and the home detention program that sits alongside that, cater for a number of different categories of people. The case you refer to is in fact an offender who has not yet been convicted of an offence and has been released on bail by the responsible court. The responsible court has imposed on that person a requirement to be subject to intensive bail supervision, which conditions are not dissimilar to pre-release home detention prisoners.
The fundamental difference, though, is that the decision to release is a decision taken by the court. It is not a decision taken by me or one of my delegates under a power through the Correctional Services Act, nor is it a decision that was taken by the Parole Board.
Mr BELL: Thank you for that; I really appreciate it.
Ms DIGANCE: Minister, my question refers to Budget Paper 4, Volume 1, pages 147, 148 and 150. Can the minister inform the committee about what the Department for Correctional Services is currently undertaking to address the specific needs and sensitivities of female prisoners and offenders?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I thank the member for her very important question. It is obviously an area which requires some attention. When you look at the unprecedented growth in prisoner numbers, there has also been an increase in the female daily average prisoner population of 79.3 per cent over the past decade. The department recognises this trend and has taken positive steps to improve the service delivery to female prisoners and offenders. These steps include the department increasing the numbers of women released to home detention.
Home detention provides an option for certain prisoners to complete their prison sentence at home. The program, which has been operating in South Australia since 1986, is one of the department's most intensive and also successful community-based programs. In 2013-14, there were 26 women released to home detention. In 2014-15, this has increased to 50. Home detention enables offenders to re-engage with community, and most importantly with family, particularly children.
I can also advise that in November 2014, 24 beds came online for female prisoners at the Adelaide Pre-release Centre. This has enabled female prisoners to commence the final stages of transition on a controlled basis, and within a facility focused on ensuring linkage to accommodation, community-based training and employment, and resettlement services. This includes access to employment and training at the Northfield Distribution Centre, which supplies goods to prisons throughout the state.
Employment and training is also now available for women at the Adelaide Women's Prison's new industrial kitchen, which was commissioned in August 2014. As of 1 July 2015, prisoners from the Adelaide Women's Prison are now employed at the canteen at the Northfield site. Women also have access to employment and training through they Greyhound Adoption Program, which has been located at the women's prison since October 2014.
It is widely recognised that women who offend have multiple complex and interrelated needs, with many entering the correctional system with limited education, poor employment history, childcare responsibilities, poor coping skills, and experiences of childhood and adult abuse. Additionally, female prisoners are often mothers and the sole carers of the children prior to their imprisonment. Previous research has indicated that having a parent in prison can profoundly affect a child's social, emotional and behavioural development.
An understanding of the needs of female prisoners is required to develop appropriate and effective responses to women who offend. There is also a growing recognition of the different pathways into and out of offending for women. Rather than generic interventions designed to address male criminogenic needs, gender-responsive approaches are required. The department has therefore made a commitment to improve the service delivery to female prisoners and offenders.
In recognition of the importance of this work, addressing the specific needs of female offenders is included as a priority on the department's 2014-17 Strategic Plan. To achieve this, a two-phased approach to develop the department's response for women offenders has been undertaken. The first phase was to undertake stakeholder consultation, which culminated in the development of a report on stakeholder perspectives. The second phase will see a development of a strategic framework and action plan to advance agency responses to offending by women.
As part of phase 1, in April 2014 the department released a consultation paper entitled, 'Improving responses to women offenders and prisoners involved in correctional settings'. During the consultation, a broad range of responses were received from justice sector partners, correctional service staff, allied government and community service agencies, peak bodies, culturally specific service providers and groups, victim and offender advocates (both individuals and groups), women offenders and ex-offenders. In all, 108 individuals and 19 groups responded to the consultation.
This process informed the drafting of the subsequent report on stakeholder perspectives, entitled,Consultation Report—Women Offender Framework Development Project. That was in October 2014. The phase 1 consultation report was released on 6 May 2015. The report will provide further opportunities to engage partners along with a number of community stakeholders to inform the remaining work.
Phase 2 is now in progress. A women offenders framework and a five-year action plan is under development and will be released in September 2015. The framework and action plan will guide further infrastructure development at the Adelaide Women's Prison, including two transportable accommodation units, a program facility and a children's playground attached to the new visitor centre. Progression of a business case, to bring the main prison precinct at the women's centre up to a contemporary standard of accommodation, is a priority for the department.
Community service work can be ordered by the department if an offender who has applied for home detention has no employment or study, which provides opportunities to make restitution but also to gain vocational skills that may lead to employment. It is anticipated that the department will continue to proactively seek female prisoners for the sentenced home detention program due to the positive success rate and the opportunities for prisoners to remain engaged with the community while serving a court imposed sanction.
Mr GARDNER: I refer to the same budget paper, Volume 1, page 148, offence focused programs. I understand this would be the one that covers the new domestic violence related cognitive behavioural therapy program. Can you identify on what date that commenced and where, and how many participants there were?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: I am trying to find the short answer for you rather than the long answer. The domestic abuse program: in addition to the Violence Prevention Program, a program was sought for prisoners and offenders who have been charged with a domestic abuse related offence who are currently under the department's supervision. The department identified an appropriate domestic abuse program from New South Wales Corrective Services to implement during 2012-13.
The program was run as a pilot on two occasions: from July to September 2013 (10 weeks duration) in a Community Corrections setting, and from April to June of this year (10 weeks duration) in a prison setting. The evaluation report is currently being written and will assist in informing the future of the program.
The department is also planning to implement further domestic abuse programs in both Community Corrections and prison settings for the upcoming year 2015-16. Similar programs to the DAP are currently being delivered in Victoria, the ACT and New South Wales. Unfortunately, we do not have a specific number for that program. It is broken down into other programs.
Mr GARDNER: Can I ask a couple of detailed questions? You are welcome to take them on notice. How many participants commenced that April to June 10-week pilot and how many completed it? My understanding is that there was a pilot at the Cadell Training Centre. Is that the only one that has taken place or is there another location where that has happened as well? This is for the one inside.
Mr BROWN : The first pilot of the program was delivered in the Community Corrections setting. I think we did that out of the Elizabeth Community Corrections Centre. The second pilot has been delivered at the Cadell Training Centre this financial year.
Mr GARDNER: I would like you to provide now or on notice the actual end of year results for all of those offence related programs. Also, for the number of program commencements, projections for the 2015-16 year and the actuals for the 2014-15 year, if you could break those down by which program: Making Changes, the domestic abuse or the other ones.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Yes, we will do that.
Mr GARDNER: Going back to page 149, Custodial Services expenses, how many days in 2014-15 was the City Watch House used—it might be quicker to ask whether there were any days when it was not used—and at what cost, and how many days in 2014-15 were Holden Hill and Sturt Police cells used and at what cost?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Can I just say one thing? They are also used at different levels, so it is not a case of where they are actually completely used every day.
Mr GARDNER: I also understand that police will sometimes charge for use of the whole facility even if there are only a couple in there, and Corrections has staff costs which go up and down.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: That is not correct. They do not charge us for the use of the facility; they actually charge us for the additional costs they incur, which is different. That would actually be based more—
Mr GARDNER: The memorandum of administrative arrangements does not make the distinction quite that clear—not that it has been signed yet.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: That's right. We actually work very closely together. I think both ministries have a good minister.
Mr GARDNER: Maybe you can get your CEOs to sign an agreement to it, sir.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: It is 356 days that it was used in 2014-15—
Mr GARDNER: Is that 356 or 365?
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: It is 356.
Mr GARDNER: Excellent; a quiet week.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: For Holden Hill it was 336. Those were the two questions, weren't they?
Mr GARDNER: And Sturt.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: That was 218 days.
The CHAIR: Thank you, minister. Sadly, according to the agreed timetable I declare the examination of the proposed payments for the Department for Correctional Services completed. Thank you, minister, and thank you to your advisers.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I would also like to thank members of the opposition for the courteous way they have asked questions.
The CHAIR: Me too. In accordance with the agreed timetable, the committee stands suspended until 2pm.
Sitting suspended from 13:01 to 14:00 .