AUSTRALIA | Queensland Ombudsman takes on new role as Inspector of Detention Services

The Inspector of Detention Services Act 2022 (IDS Act) seeks to improve detention services with a focus on promoting the humane treatment of detainees and prevention of harm. The IDS Act was passed by the Queensland Parliament on 30 August 2022.

Under the IDS Act, the Queensland Ombudsman will have a new and additional role, the Inspector of Detention Services (Inspector). The IDS Act will commence on a date to be fixed by proclamation.

The IDS Act sets out a framework for review of detention services, inspection of places of detention and independent and transparent reporting. The focus of the Inspector will be on the prevention of harm rather than responding to complaints when harm occurs. This preventative focus will examine the systems and the lived experiences of people detained.

Specific IDS functions will include:

  • inspecting places of detention in Queensland, including youth detention centres, adult prisons and watch-houses

  • preparing and publishing standards for inspections

  • reporting to the Legislative Assembly on inspection visits and making recommendations for improvement.

When carrying out IDS functions, the Inspector must have regard to the cultural background or vulnerability of detainees.

Staff from the Office of the Queensland Ombudsman will support the Inspector’s functions under the IDS Act. Ombudsman officers have experience in reviewing detention services. This includes visiting correctional centres as part of an administrative improvement function under the Ombudsman Act 2001, investigating complaints made by detainees and major investigation reports such as the Strip Searching of Female Prisoners Report (2014), Overcrowding at Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre Report (2016) and The Brisbane Youth Detention Centre report (2019).

The Office will continue to provide its services to the community under the Ombudsman Act 2001.


Source: Office of the Queensland Ombudsman, Australia


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