The state of emergency at the ACT’s jail has been extended for another three days as officers continue searching for the contents of a parcel thrown over a fence earlier in the week.
A Justice and Community Safety Directorate spokesperson said it was essential that a full and systematic search of the Alexander Maconochie Centre be undertaken to deal with any risk posed by the parcel.
“Today executive director of ACT Corrective Services, Jon Peach, extended the declaration with respect to the AMC under Section 26 of the Corrections Management Act of 2007 – effective immediately. This will see the powers under the declaration continued until 1400 hrs on Tuesday, 12 November 2019,” the spokesperson said.
“Under the Act, an emergency may be declared within a correctional centre for a stated period of not more than three days. A declaration may be made for two or more consecutive periods in relation to the same emergency.”
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No further information will be available until the operation has concluded.
The jail will remain in lockdown after the jail’s first three-day state of emergency was declared on Wednesday afternoon when an unknown person threw the parcel thrown over an inner fence after cutting a hole the outer perimeter fence.
The Canberra Liberals speculated that firearms may have been smuggled into the jail but Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury said on Thursday that the only material found that could be from the parcel was drug-related.
The Minister said that given the uncertainty it was prudent to lock down the jail so a thorough search could be made and the safety of all staff at the centre could be ensured.
He said prison officers were working through the jail unit by unit. A sniffer dog from NSW had also been brought into the centre to assist with the search.
The perimeter fence is monitored by CCTV but officers had been unable to identify the person who had cut through the wire and tossed the parcel over the inner fence.
An internal management review was launched immediately after the breach had been discovered earlier in the week.
The lockdown will end only when Mr Peach is satisfied there had been a thorough search of the jail and it is considered safe.
A lockdown means prisoners are confined to their cells for 23 out of 24 hours, communications are restricted and no visitors are allowed, although court appearances and health appointments will continue.
The AMC is working closely with ACT Policing and the Inspector of Correctional Services office has been advised.