The Andrews Labor Government is banning drones from flying near prisons and youth justice precincts.
The changes to the Corrections Act 1986 to be introduced into Parliament today will make it an offence to intentionally or recklessly operate a drone at or near a prison or youth justice precinct.
The new restrictions mean it is an offence to fly at or below 400 feet (approximately 120 metres) above a prison, with the laws also applying to supervised residential facilities like Corella Place.
Drones pose a significant risk to correctional facilities in a number ways including being used to smuggle in contraband like drugs, weapons and mobile phones.
They can also be used as a surveillance tool, risking the security of correctional facilities.
Drones have been detected near a number of prisons, including the Melbourne Assessment Prison and the three prisons in Ravenhall, the Metropolitan Remand Centre, Dame Phyllis Frost Centre and the new Ravenhall Prison.
Anyone caught intentionally or recklessly operating a drone near a prison or youth justice precinct will face a maximum two years in prison, the same penalty for smuggling contraband into a correctional facility.
This added layer of security is just one way Corrections Victoria is preventing contraband from entering our prisons.
Corrections Victoria staff conduct regular searches of prisoners and visitors, including in cars and public areas.
The specialist Security and Emergency Services Group (SESG) unit – working with a large contingent of detection dogs – conduct thousands of searches each year, intercepting items like drugs, alcohol and weapons.
A number of dogs are now trained to sniff out tobacco products, ensuring the state’s prisons remain smoke free.
Prisoners found with contraband face tough management measures, while visitors caught red-handed are refused entry to prisons with serious breaches referred to Victoria Police.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Corrections Gayle Tierney
“If someone wants to use a drone to drop contraband into a prison they might find themselves on the wrong side of the wall.”
“We’re doing everything we can to stop contraband being smuggled into prison which will make them safer for both staff and inmates.”
“We’re sending a very strong message to anyone thinking of new ways to smuggle in contraband – you will be caught.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020