ACT’s first Inspector of Correctional Services begins

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

Mr Neil McAllister has been appointed the ACT’s first Inspector of Correctional Services.

Mr McAllister began working in corrections in 1990 in policy and research roles and as an Inspector for the Queensland Corrective Services Commission.

He was later appointed National Investigations Manager for Australasian Correctional Management responsible for conducting investigations in correctional facilities and immigration detention centres in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales.

From 2002 to 2008, Mr McAllister worked in Victoria within the Office of Correctional Services Commissioner and as Principal Inspector in the Corrections Inspectorate which was independent of Corrections Victoria.

Since 2008, Mr McAllister has worked as a private consultant conducting major reviews in New South Wales and the Northern Territory. He was also involved in two reviews in the ACT in 2011 and 2014.

The establishment of the independent role of Inspector of Correctional Service was a government commitment in response to the recommendations of the independent review by Philip Moss into the death in custody of Steven Freeman.

The Inspector of Correctional Services will provide a comprehensive agenda for overall improvement of correctional services and lead sustainable change towards best practice in the ACT. This will ensure continuous improvement through the systematic and regular review of correctional centres and services.

The Inspector will work with, but be distinct from, the existing oversight mechanisms undertaken by the Human Rights Commission, ACT Ombudsman, Public Advocate and the Official Visitors.

The Inspector will take a whole of system focus, to identify areas for improvement and prevent poor practices.

The Legislative Assembly will be provided with independent reports from the Inspector, who will be able to conduct unannounced visits to correctional centres, including court cells.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Corrections Shane Rattenbury:

 “Mr McAllister has extensive experience conducting comprehensive reviews of correctional facilities across Australia and providing clear advice to governments on ways to improve operations and policies.

“The ACT’s Inspector of Correctional Facilities will have special powers to investigate critical incidents. I recognise Mr McAllister’s broad knowledge in this area, having conducted more than 100 investigations of critical incidents, including 28 deaths in custody.

“A comprehensive and systemic inspection of correctional services will also be conducted every two years and I can also refer particular issues to be reviewed.

“As Minister I am committed to transformational change in the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) as a facility that is rapidly growing and adapting to many challenges which were not all predicted in its early days.

“The establishment of an Inspector of Correctional Services will focus our reform efforts, keep a steady eye on correctional facilities and services and support the implementation of real change.

“The community rightly expects improved governance, risk management strategies, health services and models of care for our detainees so that they are safe and can successfully reintegrate into our community.

“The Government is implementing the recommendations made in the Moss Review and continues to work to progress recommendations from a series of other reviews into operations and policies.

“The Inspector of Correctional Services will increase transparency and accountability, and deter mismanagement and unfairness.”