New South Wales ice inquiry hears that corrections department has no ‘overall strategy’ to deal with drug use in ballooning prison population

7 Sep 2019

The department responsible for managing New South Wales’ ballooning prison population has “no overall drug strategy” and remains “steadfastly opposed” to a needle exchange program in jails, despite the urging of health officials.

On Monday a government-commissioned inquiry into ice and other amphetamines turned its attention to drug use among inmates, hearing that as the state’s prison population has exploded, so too has the use of illicit drugs in jails.


But despite that, the counsel assisting the commission, Sally Dowling SC, told the inquiry that Corrective Services New South Wales has no overall drug strategy and is actively resisting calls for a needle exchange program made by the Justice Health department.

The NSW prison population has exploded since the Coalition government was voted into power in 2011. In her opening address, Dowling said it had grown by about 40% – from 9,602 to 13,630 inmates – between 2012 and 2018.

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