Prisons and youth justice centres are now officially drone-free zones, with new laws passed by the Andrews Labor Government coming into effect today.
Under the ban, anyone caught intentionally or recklessly flying a drone at or below 120 metres above a prison or youth justice facility, or within 120 metres of the facility boundary, faces up to two years in prison.
The drone ban will boost community safety, by ensuring prisons and youth justice facilities are safe and secure.
It’s the first ban of its kind in Australia, with existing Commonwealth laws only restricting the use of drones above 120 metres in all airspace.
The ban also applies to supervised residential facilities such as Corella Place, and has been introduced in response to security threats posed by drones.
The remotely piloted devices have been detected near a number of Victorian prisons, and can be used as a surveillance tool or to smuggle contraband such as drugs, weapons and mobile phones.
The laws will not punish accidental or unintentional behaviour, and apply only to conduct that intentionally or recklessly threatens the security or good order of a corrections or youth justice facility.
In addition to banning drones, the new laws also mean that helicopters will be unable to fly at or below 120 metres above corrections or youth justice facilities.
Keeping helicopters and drones at a safe distance is vital to responding to and managing incidents at these facilities.
This added layer of security is another 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.
More information on the ban is available at justice.vic.gov.au/prison-drone-ban.
Quotes attributable to Acting Minister for Corrections Jenny Mikakos
“We’re cracking down on drones to stop contraband such as drugs, weapons and mobile phones entering Victorian justice facilities.”
“The safety and security of justice facilities is of the utmost importance and the new laws will create a safe buffer zone.”
“With no-fly zones now in force, anyone caught using a drone or a helicopter in a way that intentionally or recklessly threatens the security of a justice facility faces up to two years behind bars.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020