Improving care, safety and health of detainees

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

The ACT Government today reaffirmed its commitment to continuing to improve custodial and health services for people in custody.

The ACT Government has welcomed the 16 recommendations in the Health Services Commissioner’s Review of the Opioid Replacement Treatment (ORT) Program at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC).

In response, the Government has agreed to 12, agreed in principle to three and noted one of the recommendations from the Health Services Commissioner’s Review. The Commissioner’s review was a recommendation arising from the Moss Review into the treatment and care of Steven Freeman.

The Government has already completed 10 of the Commissioner’s recommendations, including:

  • Justice Health Services improving its process for assessing eligibility for the ORT program at the AMC
  • The development of an information sharing schedule between ACT Health and ACT Corrective Services
  • Implementing procedures to ensure the prevention of methadone diversion in the AMC, and
  • Ensuring ACT Corrective Services staff receive appropriate training in relation to searching and observing detainees dosed with methadone.

Work on the remaining recommendations is underway. The Government’s work in progressing the Commissioner’s recommendations will also continue alongside its efforts to continue implementing the Moss Review’s recommendations.

Government agrees to Coroner’s findings on the Inquest into the death of Steven Freeman

It comes as the Government today also agreed to the seven recommendations in Coroner Cook’s findings on the Inquest into the death in custody of Steven Freeman.

The Coroner’s findings and recommendations have been considered and the ACT Government has agreed in full to four recommendations, and agreed in principle to three recommendations, made by Coroner Cook.

The ACT Government welcomes the Coroner’s recommendations and notes the findings that the quality of care, treatment and supervision afforded to Steven Freeman by ACT Corrective Services and ACT Health was not found to have contributed to his death. The findings did identify systemic issues that are being addressed.

Comments attributable to Minister for Corrections Shane Rattenbury:

“The ACT Government will continue to drive improvements in the care, safety and health of detainees in the AMC. 

“Significant work has been undertaken since the tragic death of Steven Freeman in May of 2016, largely as a result of the Moss Review, which preceded Coroner Cook’s inquest and the Health Services Commissioner’s review.

“The Government is committed to ensuring that our corrections and justice health systems operate as effectively as possible and in a collaborative way that ensures their services complement each other.

“We remain committed to a process of continuous improvement and will progress the implementation of the remaining recommendations from the Moss Review, the Coroner’s report and the Health Services Commissioner’s report over the coming months.”