M.05.04 Managing prisoners suspected of internal concealment of unauthorised items

The Corrections Act does not permit the internal examination or search of any body orifice of any person by any officer. A visual search may be conducted as part of any search but this must not include anything being inserted into any body orifice.

When a custodial officer suspects a prisoner of internally concealing an unauthorised item, no attempt is to be made to remove the item from the prisoner, regardless of whether the article is visible or only partially concealed.
(See M.05.04.Res.01 Managing prisoners suspected of internal concealment flow diagram.)

M.05.04.01 Immediate actions

  1. When an officer suspects or has received information that a prisoner is internally concealing an item(s) the officer must;
    1. order the prisoner to keep his / her hands away from the body and
    2. if the prisoner does not comply use reasonable force to restrain the prisoner.
  2. Staff must place the prisoner in a dry cell* under constant physical observation by an officer**.
  3. Staff must immediately contact the health centre manager and provide the health centre manager with all the information they have as to why they suspect the prisoner may have internally concealed unauthorised item(s) and what the unauthorised item(s) may be for example: the item may be a harmful substance (e.g. drugs), or the item may be a cell phone.
  4. The health centre manager will take the necessary steps to ascertain the prisoner’s wellbeing and recommend the prison director to segregate the prisoner under section 60(1)(a) Segregation for the Purpose of Medical Oversight.
  5. Staff must place the M.05.04.Form.01 Dry-Cell Regime Notice on the exterior of the cell door and advise all officers in the unit the prisoner is subject to the dry-cell regime.

* Note 1:

  1. The dry cell (designated for this purpose under regulation 59(2)) should not have:
    1. a toilet
    2. running potable water
    3. a modesty screen.

** Note 2:

The prisoner should also be under camera observation (cameras do not replace the requirement for physical observations).

M.05.04.02 Concealed item(s) recovery

  1. Staff may try to recover the item(s) by instructing the prisoner to remove any concealed item(s) and hand the item(s) to staff. To assist a prisoner, retrieving an item, provide the prisoner with:
    1. gloves
    2. toilet paper
    3. wipes, and
    4. wash facilities.
  2. Staff must not, regardless of whether the item is visible or only partially concealed, attempt to remove any item, even if the prisoner asks for assistance to do it. Staff must immediately request a health staff to assess the wellbeing of the prisoner.
  3. If the prisoner refuses to hand over the item(s) or item(s) cannot be physically removed by the prisoner or the prisoner denies having any item internally concealed staff must keep the prisoner in the dry cell under constant physical observation by an officer.
  4. If the prisoner hands over item(s), on receiving the item(s), staff are to:
    1. manage the item(s) in accordance with POM S.01.Res.17 Exhibit Management and
    2. undertake appropriate misconduct procedures.
  5. Whether staff retrieve item(s) or not, the prisoner must remain in dry cell and under constant observations until the health centre manager (or delegated staff) advises the prison director that the segregation order under Section 60(1)(a) may be revoked and the prisoner returned to a unit.

M.05.04.03 Management of prisoner in dry cell

If at any time during the observation of the prisoner (in a dry-cell), staff have concerns that the prisoner’s health is deteriorating they must immediately contact the health centre manager / on call nurse and request a health professional attend the prisoner urgently.

If staff are not able to immediately contact the health centre manager (or a health professional cannot attend), they must arrange for emergency services (ambulance) to attend the prison as set out in the Incident Response - Medical Emergency (flip chart) procedures.

If, at any time, the prisoner’s / patient’s condition deteriorates and he / she refuses to be, either assessed or transported to hospital, the prison director must be informed.

The prison director, on receipt of this advice, can direct transport to the Emergency Department or any agreed health care facility.

  1. If the health centre manager recommends to the prison director that the prisoner needs to be segregated for the purpose of medical oversight (Section 60(1)(a) of the Corrections Act 2004), once the direction to segregate for medical oversight is made, custodial staff must:
    1. provide the prisoner a copy of the M.05.04.Form.02 Direction to Segregate (Suspected of Internal Concealment) Medical Oversight and explain the effect of the direction to the prisoner.
    2. manage the prisoner in strict adherence to the management plan.
  2. The prisoner must be issued and instructed to wear at risk clothing. The prisoner may be permitted to wear his / her own underwear.
  3. The management plan for the prisoner must clearly identify the conditions under which the prisoner will be detained and the minimum entitlements that are to be denied (section 69(2)(c) applies to the prisoner suspected of internally concealing an item).
  4. Whilst confined to a dry cell, the prisoner:
    1. will be visited, within 24 hours and at a minimum daily thereafter, by a registered health professional
    2. is not to have any water or other liquids available in the cell. All liquids will be given to the prisoner by custodial staff who will supervise the drinking of the water or other liquid and remove the cup immediately.
    3. will be provided finger food only, consumption of which will be supervised by custodial staff (staff must record the amount of food and water the prisoner consumes)
    4. will have toileting requirements supervised by an officer of the same sex
    5. the prisoner will be provided with a potty or bucket and
      1. the prisoner must be instructed to keep his / her hands in sight of the custodial staff at all times. (In order to prevent a prisoner from re-inserting an item whilst toileting, handcuffs may be used, in accordance with section 83 of the Corrections Act 2004)
      2. the bucket or potty must be removed immediately after toileting
      3. once the potty or bucket is removed, the prisoner will be provided with toilet paper
      4. the prisoner will be permitted to wash his / her hands after toileting (antiseptic wipes may be more practical for this purpose).

        Note: All used toilet paper and antiseptic wipes are to be placed, by the prisoner, into a refuse receptacle immediately after use.
    6. The prisoner will be permitted to shower only under the direct observation and supervision of a corrections officer of the same sex and at convenient times considering the needs of the unit.
  5. When any item(s) is recovered staff must:
    1. manage the article in accordance with POM S.01.Res.17 Exhibit Management, and
    2. undertake appropriate misconduct procedures, or
    3. if drugs are recovered, staff may inform Police depending on class of drug and quantity.
  6. The prison director (or authorised delegate) must visit the prisoner at least once a day. As part of this visit they must check the M.05.03.Form.01 Observation sheets and confirm with staff they understand their responsibilities and the observations are being carried out appropriately.
  7. During the period of segregation the prisoner may have visits, make and receive telephone calls from the Office of the Ombudsmen, Inspector of Corrections, any other statutory visitor, and/or the prisoner's legal adviser. These visits and or calls must be arranged by unit staff as soon as practicable, taking into consideration the needs of the unit.

M.05.04.04 Revocation of segregation direction for medical oversight

  1. The health centre manager will advise the prison director when there ceases to be a justification for the direction to segregate.
  2. The prison director will advise custodial staff where the prisoner will be placed / located.