Shadow Minister for Corrections Elizabeth Kikkert will today introduce an amendment bill to toughen up ACT law to prevent people using remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), commonly known as drones, to deliver prohibited items – such as drugs, weapons, and mobile phones – into the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC).
The amendments will make it illegal to cause a prohibited thing to be taken into a correctional centre or given to a detainee.
Mrs Kikkert said as written, existing law does not clearly capture using an RPA to fly over the AMC and remotely drop something inside.
“These changes will make it easier to prosecute anyone who tries to deliver banned items into our prison,” Mrs Kikkert said.
“Incidents of RPAs being used to deliver prohibited things into correctional facilities have increased rapidly. Corrections Victoria reported 96 incidents at their prisons from March to early November last year.
“In the ACT, we know that there have already been at least two attempted deliveries of contraband into the AMC using RPAs.
“This is a rapidly emerging problem, and the territory must adapt. Other jurisdictions have struggled with solutions because the use of airspace is controlled by the Commonwealth.
“My bill avoids any conflicts with Federal legislation by not attempting to restrict the airspace.
“I have consulted extensively on this approach with the Commonwealth Government, with community groups, and with people who have long-term experience working in corrections; the feedback has all been positive.
“The measures in my bill will help reduce the number of prohibited items that enter our prison.
Drugs, weapons, mobile phones, and other things that are smuggled into the AMC contribute to the black market.
“They are used for barter and often contribute to violence between detainees.
“Reducing the entry of drugs into the prison will increase detainee health whilst contributing to education and rehabilitation outcomes,” Mrs Kikkert concluded.