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​New independent inspector to monitor custodial services

Issued: Thursday, 24 March 2016

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The Department of Justice today announced the appointment of Fiona Rafter as Inspector of Custodial Services.

The Inspector of Custodial Services is an independent watchdog who reviews correctional and juvenile justice facilities and reports to parliament on issues of concern.

"Ms Rafter is highly qualified for the position, with 27 years of experience as a solicitor and a strong background in oversight of correctional facilities in Queensland," said Department of Justice Secretary Andrew Cappie-Wood.

Ms Rafter spent six years with Legal Aid in Queensland before becoming a Legal Adviser to Queensland's Corrective Services Department. She also spent six year helping resolve inmate complaints in her capacity as an official visitor to Brisbane prisons.

While in Queensland, Ms Rafter also reviewed corrective services' legislation and provided oversight of prison performance monitoring and the complaints management system.

As Inspector of Custodial Services in NSW, Ms Rafter will have jurisdiction over all correctional facilities, including public and private sector prisons and juvenile justice centres, court custody centres, police cells managed by Corrective Services NSW, transitional centres, prisoner transport and support services.

Minister for Corrections David Elliott said: "The Inspector increases the transparency and accountability of custodial facility operations and I welcome Ms Rafter's appointment. She is also the first female NSW Inspector."

Ms Rafter will be required to inspect and review adult and juvenile custodial centres and services and prepare reports for parliament.

She will also oversee the Official Visitor programs for adult and juvenile correctional centres.

Ms Rafter will begin her five-year appointment on 11 April 2016.