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Bikies and criminal gang associates banned from visiting SA prisons

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People identified as being associated with criminal organisations, including outlaw bikie gangs, will be banned from visiting prisoners in South Australia under a new law.

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Known members of criminal organisations will be prohibited from visiting anyone in a South Australian prison under an amendment to the Correctional Services Act, proclaimed today, which comes into effect later this month.

The chief executive of the Department of Corrections already has the power to permanently ban anyone from visiting a particular prisoner but a Government spokesperson said under current law, association with a criminal organisation is not reason enough to debar someone.

Corrections Minister Corey Wingard says the new law will make it “a heck of a lot easier” and establish a less “convoluted” process to ban individuals.

“Prisons have traditionally been prime locations for members of criminal organisations to recruit new members,” said Wingard said in a statement this morning.

“These same groups also attempt to continue their criminal activities and associations whilst in custody.

“This includes seeking to profit from the introduction and distribution of contraband to prisoners.”

The Government says the law will sever links between prisoners and people they know.

A Government spokesperson said the law might prevent some prisoners from seeing family members known to be members of criminal groups, but will not in any way prevent a prisoner from accessing legal counsel.

Department chief executive David Brown said the new law would help prevent drugs and other contraband from entering jails.

“Unfortunately no prison system in the world can boast a completely contraband-free environment,” he said.

“However, DCS is committed to stopping contraband from entering the prison system through targeting and stopping organised crime.

“These amendments will be another avenue we can utilise to stop contraband entering the prison system, resulting in increased safety and security.”

InDaily contacted the Law Society of South Australia for comment.

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