Tasmania Prison Service Professional Visits – Non-Contact Only from 23 March 2020
As you are no doubt aware, the situation with regard to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is rapidly evolving internally, nationally and locally. It brings unprecedented challenges for corrections where we must balance the need to continue to deliver services and provide access to clients as much as possible, with the need to ensure we do not contribute to the spread of the virus. Some of our prisoners have pre-existing health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. A number of corrections jurisdictions in Australia have suspended visits indefinitely and are utilising electronic or virtual visits only.
The Tasmania Prison Service is working closely with the Department of Health to ensure we are taking all necessary steps to ensure we minimise the potential spread of COVID-19. As of 23 March 2020, all visits (personal and professional) will be non-contact visits only. This will consequentially reduce the number of visits available as our infrastructure for non-contact visits is significantly less than for contact visits. Visits will be limited to 30 minutes duration to promote equitable access for all prisoners and allow for sufficient cleaning time between visits.
The Tasmania Prison Service is also exploring our capacity to provide Skype or ‘virtual’ professional visits to minimise the impact of suspending contact visits.
Information regarding the status of visits will be published on the Department of Justice’s external website (www.justice.tas.gov.au/prisonservice) and we will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds.
If there are any questions or concerns from legal practitioners and other professional visitors, please ask them to contact the TPS COVID-19 Communications Hub on 6165 7391 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation throughout this time.
Stephanie Skillern | Manager, Sentence Management Division