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Personal information and privacy
Corrections Victoria collects personal information about prisoners, offenders, their families and prison visitors. Personal information is managed in accordance with privacy laws.
Personal information recorded for the purpose of appropriate management of prisoners includes:
- date and place of birth
- marital status
- family details
- medical conditions
- drug/alcohol usage
- criminal history
- emergency contacts
Information may also be recorded for reasons relating to prison security. For example, telephone calls made by prisoners may be monitored or recorded.
Courts sometimes request a pre-sentence report or assessment to determine suitability for supervision in the community. This requires Corrections Victoria to collect personal information.
Prisoners provide information about persons close to them during interviews and case management.
When a family member or friend makes a representation on behalf of a prisoner – such as writing a letter to Corrections Victoria or contacting a staff member by telephone – personal information will be collected from them.
Respecting your privacy brochure explains your rights to information and health privacy as a remandee, prisoner or offender.
Why prisoner information is collected
This information is collected to ensure that:
- a person is lawfully in custody or properly supervised in the community
- security is maintained in Victoria's prisons
- appropriate programs and services are provided to prisoners
How prisoner information is collected
Corrections Victoria collects information personally from prisoners and offenders – for example, by personal interview. Corrections Victoria may also gather information from the following organisations and individuals:
- the Adult Parole Board for information about the conditions of parole
- police (state, territory and federal) for background information about the charges
- case workers managing programs for prisoners
- family members of prisoners seeking transfer under the interstate transfer provisions
- courts, for information about the offence and sentence
How prisoner information is used
Personal information collected about a prisoner is used to ensure their appropriate placement within the prison system and their access to appropriate programs and services, including post-release services.
Personal information about an offender being supervised in the community is used to administer a court order and to ensure appropriate supervision in the community.
Prisoners are assigned a unique personal identity number known as a Corrections Reference Number (CRN) which is used to identify a prisoner.
Personal information will only be used in accordance with the Corrections Act 1986 or as required by any other law.
Disclosure of prisoner information
Corrections Victoria will confirm to any member of the public who enquires whether a person is currently imprisoned. It will not provide any further information or disclose whether a person is under supervision in the community or details of any previous contact with Corrections Victoria.
Generally, consent will be sought from a person before their information is disclosed to someone else. The exception to this is when someone acting on behalf of a prisoner such as their legal representative makes the request.
Personal information will be disclosed where:
- it is authorised under the Corrections Act
- it is reasonably necessary for law enforcement
- it is allowed under the Information Privacy Act 2000
- it is required or authorised under any other law
- there is implied consent from the prisoner or offender; for example, Corrections Victoria will tell a person nominated by a prisoner as a visitor, of the prisoner's location in order to facilitate a prison visit
Limited personal information can be disclosed to the following bodies or individuals:
- a prisoner or offender’s lawyer or legal representative
- the Adult Parole Board
- the Australian Tax Office, Centrelink, Child Support Agency, Victorian Electoral Commission, Department of Human Services or Department of Immigration and Citizenship
- the person nominated by a prisoner or offender as an emergency contact
- the persons nominated by a prisoner as visitors
- community and charity organisations providing assistance to prisoners, offenders or their families (for example, VACRO, Anglicare or Prison Fellowship)
- a state or federal police force in cases where a warrant of apprehension is in existence or where an offender or prisoner is identified as a suspect in a criminal investigation
- persons registered as victims on the Victims Register which enables those who are victims of a violent crime to be provided with specific information about the prisoner who committed the crime
- a court which has requested an assessment of a person's suitability for an order requiring their supervision in the community
Information disclosed by Corrections Victoria is used by the following three agencies for data matching purposes to update and to improve their records:
- the VEC uses Corrections data to update a person's eligibility to vote
- Centrelink uses Corrections data to determine eligibility for benefits
- Department of Immigration & Border Protection uses Corrections data to initiate a review of the status of non citizens
Amending or accessing personal information
If an offender wants to access or correct any personal or health information about them held by Corrections Victoria, they should consult their case worker to see whether their matter can be resolved at a local level.
A formal freedom of information request can be made to the Department of Justice & Regulation's Freedom of Information Unit.
Applications may also be made online via the freedom of information website (External link)
Offenders may also request health records from their treating clinician.
Prisoners may request their health records from the health service provider at their prison location. They can do this while they are in prison or after they have been released. For more information see Health care.
Disposal of personal information
The retention and disposal of any personal records held by Corrections Victoria is governed by the Public Records Act 1973. This Act requires that Corrections Victoria retains its records for a specified time. At the end of this period and as determined by this Act, these records will be either destroyed or transferred to Public Record Office Victoria for permanent storage.