Prison sex scandal: Government going ‘soft on crime’ and the Greens are calling them out
New laws, which make it a crime for prison officers to have sex with inmates, have been criticised for not going far enough.
New South Wales corrections officers could face two years in jail and a $2200 fine if they sleep with criminals behind bars.
The tougher penalties come after Ray Hadley exposed an embarrassing number of female officers having sexual relationships with inmates.
Corrections Minister David Elliott staked his job on fixing the saga, and new laws passed the NSW Upper House this week.
But a fiery debate has been sparked about the wording of the bill, which requires proof the intimate relationship causes a “risk or potential risk” to the jail’s safety and security.
In a statement to The Ray Hadley Morning Show (see below), Mr Elliott has defended the wording of the legislation, saying it protects potentially innocent relationships, for example, between an officer and a “sibling inmate”.
“I would strongly suggest that if your sibling’s in jail, you should be moved to another jail,” says Ray.
Greens MP David Shoebridge says it should be pretty simple.
“At the core of what we were saying was: just make it very clear that sexual relations, sexual conduct between a prison officer and an inmate is unlawful.
“If you’re caught, you’ll be prosecuted and don’t put all this rubbish in about affecting the good order of the prison.”
Ray says it’s concerning the Greens are demanding harsher penalties from a Coalition government.
“You know you’re doing something wrong as a conservative government when a Greens MP is lecturing you about being soft on crime.”
Click PLAY below for the full interview with Greens MP David Shoebridge
Full statement from Corrective Services Minister David Elliot
“I want to make it clear that ANY sexual relationship between a correctional employee and inmate in prison will always risk the safety, security, good order or discipline of the prison.
An officer who has sex with an inmate in prison will face up to two years jail under this new offence.
Sex between inmates and officers is in breach of the code of conduct and the common law offence of misconduct. The new offence simply toughens the penalty, and captures officers at private prisons.
Intimate relationships have been intentionally included in the offence because intimate relationships could interfere with the good order and discipline, safety and security of a prison. For example, if an officer exchanges notes with their sibling inmate on how to circumvent correctional facility rules, or provides their sibling inmate special treatment, on account of their intimate relationship with them, they should be subject to the offence.
If the second limb of the offence was excluded, a correctional employee who slaps an inmate sibling on the back in greeting but in no other way abuses their position for the benefit of the inmate would be guilty of an offence and jailed for up to two years.”