Contact visits are now permitted at Risdon as well as Hayes Prison Farm. Contact visits are permitted in the women’s section of the prison especially if young children are involved. Contact visits last for 45 minutes and take place in the presence of a Correction officer.
Box visits are limited to 30 minutes. Inmates and visitors are separated by a glass screen for non-contact (box) visits.
Requirements for Visitors
A visitor may not take things away from the prison without authority. A visitor must give proof of their identity on request and if the visitor gives a false identity or refuses to give ID and disobeys an order to leave the prison they are guilty of a criminal offence (fine of up to $500) (s18, Corrections Act).
A visitor may be required to supply their name and address before entry to the prison. Visitors may be searched (s20) and if permission to search is refused the visitor may be ordered to leave the prison. The prison may refuse admission to an intending visitor whom it regards as undesirable.
The Justice Minister may appoint persons who are obliged to visit the prison at least once a month. The visitor may report directly to the Minister on the state of the prison, the treatment and condition of prisoners and detainees. This is traditionally regarded as an important safeguard to abuses of power by the prison authorities and an independent monitor on the condition of the prisons. A person with a complaint should arrange to meet with the official visitor and to set out the basis of the complaint. Official visitors cannot interfere with the running of the prison, but they must be given the full co-operation and assistance of the prison authorities in carrying out their work. A judge or magistrate may visit a prison at any reasonable time.
Visits by Police
The police can enter the prison to interview detainees and prisoners in accordance with procedures set by the Director (s17). A prisoner or detainee may refuse a visit from a police officer and is not required to answer questions from a police officer. An interview between a police officer and a prisoner can be conducted in the sight but not the hearing of a Custodial officer, at the prisoner’s request.
If a police officer proposes to visit a prisoner, the Director must ensure that the prisoner is advised of their rights under section 17 (s17(5)).