18 September 2013

NSW Attorney General Greg Smith today announced the appointment of Dr John Paget as Inspector of Custodial Services.

The Inspector will oversee adult and juvenile correctional facilities in the state, and report directly to Parliament. He will not be dealing with individual complaints and grievances, which remains the role of the Ombudsman, but focus on institutional and systemic issues.

“The Labor Government abolished the position of Inspector General of Prisons in 2003. I am pleased we can deliver on an election promise to reinstate independent oversight of custodial services in line with the recommendation of a 2009 Parliamentary Committee,” Mr Smith said.

“The Inspector will provide external scrutiny of the standards and operational practices of custodial services in NSW. He will regularly inspect and report on all custodial facilities, he can address potential problems before they become major issues and bring to public attention examples of good practice and professional conduct of staff.”

“It is appropriate for agencies that provide custodial services in the state to have independent oversight.”

Dr Paget is a former NSW Assistant Commissioner of Corrective Services, CEO of Corrective Services in South Australia and has also worked in the Corrective Services department in the ACT.

More recently, he has lectured at Charles Sturt University and worked as a consultant in Australia and New Zealand, including on the review of the riot at the Banksia Hill Juvenile Detention Centre by the Western Australian Inspector of Custodial Services.

The NSW Inspector will also administer the Official Visitors Program – under which community members regularly visit prisons and juvenile detention centres and help resolve issues for inmates and staff at the local level.

The Inspector also has jurisdiction over the transport of inmates and all police and court cells managed by Corrective Services or Juvenile Justice.

He must inspect and report to Parliament on each adult correctional centre at least once every five years, and on each juvenile correctional centre at least once every three years.

Mr Smith said: “I first met Dr Paget at a conference when I was the shadow minister and was impressed with his level of expertise. Dr Paget has volunteered for me in Opposition and has worked as a Corrective Services NSW consultant in my office on a part time basis, and has also worked with Labor governments in NSW, South Australia and the ACT.”

Dr Paget was selected after an exhaustive, independent appointment process which attracted candidates from around the world and was overseen by a firm of executive search consultants. He will take up his five year term shortly.

His appointment was supported by the Parliamentary Committee on the Ombudsman, the Police Integrity Commission and the Crime Commission, which also oversees and reviews the exercise of his functions.

Dr Paget will start as the Inspector of Custodial Services on 1 October 2013.


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