QCS updates rules on provision of legal material to prisoners

Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) has updated the requirements for the provision of evidence briefs/legal material to prisoners within corrective services facilities.

QCS says the update, which is now in effect, follows a review of procedures and has been implemented in consideration of the increased digitisation of legal material and instances where evidence briefs contain large volumes of material.

It advised that, if a legal practitioner (or a QPS representative if a prisoner is self-represented) needs to provide a prisoner with legal material in a non-hardcopy format, the material should be provided on a portable/external hard drive (preferred) or compact disk (CD). Previously, QCS procedures only allowed for non-hardcopy material to be provided to a prisoner on a CD.

The hard drive or CD is to be clearly marked with the following information:

  1. name of the prisoner
  2. outline of information contained on the hard drive or CD
  3. date of issue of the hard drive or CD to the prisoner.

All CDs should be enclosed in a protective CD case.

The minimum specifications of any portable/external hard drive provided to a prisoner are as follows:

  1. 55mm wide, 85mm long and 8mm depth,
  2. portable/external SSD hard drive,
  3. have a USB connection.

QCS says the legal practitioner must supply the portable/external hard drive or CD (including a connection cord, which should be as short as possible, and an adaptor to suit all USB connection types at the laptop end) and have the relevant materials uploaded and posted into the centre (or where available, dropped into the post box at the centre’s visits processing building). Portable/external hard drives that do not meet the above minimum size specifications will not be accepted by the facility.

There is also a new requirement that the legal practitioner must provide a signed letter on company letterhead stating that only legal material relevant to the case has been saved to the portable/external hard drive or CD.

The procedure update does not have any impact on a legal practitioner making a request that an electronic device (for example, a laptop computer, handheld recorder, USB) be taken into a visits area where this is necessary to facilitate the legal visit.

Where such a device is required, the legal practitioner must make the request to the Chief Superintendent or authorised delegate of the corrective services facility at least 24 hours before the visit.

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