There is significant demand for phone and video calls to prisoners during the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.
As the need for phone and video calls increases, Corrections Victoria is constantly reviewing how we schedule to get the best efficiency and outcomes out of the devices available.
There are a range of options and contact points for legal practitioners and service providers during this time. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we quickly scale up phone lines, devices and staff to support scheduling and coordination.
Prisoners are entitled to confidential meetings with professionals through non-contact “box” visits, phone or video calls.
Under exceptional circumstances where an in-person visit is needed (for example, neurological assessments) this will be considered on a case-by case basis by the prison General Manager.
Professional services providers comprise:
- Victorian Government Department employees
- medical professionals
- Ombudsman Victoria
- Health Services Commissioner
- Privacy Commissioner
- consular officials
- Independent Prison Visitors
- authorised Corrections Victoria staff.
Legal practitioners – booking a legal conference or conference for court ordered conferences
Video conference facilities in prisons are limited and Courts are prioritised.
However, legal practitioners still have access to their clients by phone and video (noting that video will be limited).
Legal professionals can use a stand-alone video conferencing machine or a mobile device (including iPhone, iPad, tablet, smart device or desktop PC with audio and camera capabilities).
When using a mobile device, legal professionals will need to use the Cisco Jabber application, which will automatically download upon activation of the first Jabber Guest URL.
To arrange a legal conference, email the Video Conferencing Coordination Unit (VCCU) at: email@example.com .
The email request must include the following information:
- email subject: VC, Jabber Guest or telephone, date of conference, prisoner’s name and CRN or date of birth
- prisoner's name
- CRN or date of birth (if CRN unknown)
- requested date
- requested time - provide a few alternatives to assist if the first preference is not available
- length of time required for the conference
- name of legal professional conducting the conference.
If your conference can be facilitated, the VCCU will schedule the conference and email a confirmation with dial-in details or the Jabber Guest URL, date and time.
If your request relates to a conference that is required prior to a court matter on that day, contact the VCCU on 1300 160 214.
What happens if a videoconference cannot be facilitated?
When requesting a legal conference, legal practitioners should consider that there will be limited access to video conferencing.
If your request is unable to be facilitated, the VCCU will refer the request to the appropriate prison to be scheduled as a telephone contact, or arrange to contact you using another video platform, for example Zoom on a tablet device in the prison.
The VCCU will make this referral on your behalf to the prison.
Other service providers (non legal) – contact points to book remote service delivery
Contact the location email addresses below.
Do not contact the VCCU for these requests during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Court matters, such as court ordered assessments, should still be booked through the VCCU.
Beechworth Correctional Centre
Dame Phyllis Frost Centre
Fulham Correctional Centre
Hopkins Correctional Centre
Judy Lazarus Transition Centre
Langi Kal Kal Prison
Loddon Prison (including Middleton)
Marngoneet Correctional Centre (including Karreenga)
Melbourne Assessment Prison (MAP)
Metropolitan Remand Centre (MRC)
Port Phillip Prison
Ravenhall Correctional Centre
New security procedures
Corrections Victoria has introduced new body scanning technology to further enhance safety and security. The Corrections Act 1986 enables searches of visitors by electronic or mechanical means, including as a condition of entry.
Both personal and professional visitors will be subject to body scanning on entry to prisons with the following technology.
Millimetre Wave Body Scanner
Millimetre wave technology (MMW) is a high-level radio frequency security scanner that emits radio waves. MMW has been introduced as an additional layer of security in prison gatehouses.
MMW emits no radiation and it is safe for all persons to enter the screener, including pregnant women and people with medical implants such as pace-makers and defibrillators.
Shoes, jackets and bulky outerwear are required to be removed to ensure the most effective and efficient scan is achieved. MMW body screeners are now in use at most passenger departure points at most Australian airports as well as international airports and other locations where high levels of security are required.
X-Ray Body Scanner
The X-ray body scanner produces an image of the whole body to show items that may be concealed by a person.
Persons undergoing the scan will be exposed to a very low dose of radiation. The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services set the maximum number of scans that an individual will receive in accordance with Victorian Radiation Act 2005 and Radiation Regulations 2017 .
The radiation dose is minimal, and the dosage is comparable to a number of routine activities in the community. For example, 400 scans over 12 months is equivalent to less than one medical chest X-ray.
Shoes, jackets and bulky outerwear are required to be removed to ensure the most effective and efficient scan is achieved.
Exemptions from being X-ray scanned:
- Pregnant or possibly pregnant persons should inform staff and may be screened by an alternative search method, including a Millimetre Wave Body Scanner, which is a non-radiation screening device.
- If a visitor has a medical condition that precludes them from being subject to radiation, a medical certificate must be provided.
- Visitors under the age of 18 years will not be scanned.
If a visitor refuses a body scan, a contact visit may be refused, or may be required to undergo an alternative screening method, or a non-contact visit may be offered.
For further information on body scanning processes please contact the prison directly or email firstname.lastname@example.org .