Petition Closed

Abusive visitor drug testing at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre

This petition had 238 supporters

Notification to all petition signers.

The following is my original petition in its entireity. Some changes have been made to the testing procedure and I have detailed them in my UPDATE. The changes go nowhere close to achieving a fair and accurate procedure. In respect to all those who signed prior to my update, the petition shall remain in its original form.


All visitors to Queensland jails are drug tested at each visit. It is the responsibility of the managing company to provide a fair and accurate test. A wand type test, similar to airport security explosives test, or sniffer dogs are used.

GEO, an American company, manages Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.

The Queensland Government Correctional Services Dept. oversee the jail managing companies.

GEO Group runs a drug testing system at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre that is an absolute farce. These are my observations and experiences.

Their methodology is totally flawed:

  1. Quite often multiple visitors (family) are tested with a single swab being passed from one person to the next before being returned to the ION scanner for analysis. In the event of a positive result, all visitors are down-graded to a non-contact visit. A group test does not identify which visitor/s were contaminated.
  2. Quite often children are not tested at all. How do you run a testing program and not test people?
  3. In the event of a positive test result, the visitor is downgraded to a non-contact visit. The ION scanner produces a print-out, similar to a supermarket docket. The information is not provided to the visitor at the time of the test nor in a follow up letter advising the visitor that they have tested positive and may incur further penalties in the event of future positive test results.
  4. The single CCTV camera in the testing area is not directed at the ION Scanner. I doubt it would be recording the flawed methodology as mentioned in points 1 and 2, above.
  5. Re-testing with a guaranteed sterile swab is not allowed. Alternative testing with a sniffer dog is not considered.
  6. Quite often the ION Scanner is broken and no drug testing of any visitor is conducted. Sniffer dogs are not used in the event of the ION Scanner not being serviceable.
  7. If a visitor accumulates 3 positive test results their visitor status is downgraded to non-contact for a period of 3 months. This is an arbitrary penalty for having been suspected of coming in contact with an illicit substance. It has not been proven that the visitor had been attempting to bring drugs into the jail.

I have had numerous exchanges of correspondence with GEO Management in which they admit:

  • the ION Scanner is prone to giving false positive readings. It is only an indication.
  • at times when the ION Scanner has not been available (not at the designated testing station) it had been removed for calibration.
  • they are not obliged to provide the notification of the type of drug or its concentration as per the test results. Their spurious claim is that if the visitor knew what type of drug they had tested positive for it would lessen the efficacy of their testing procedures?

I have been a visitor to 4 (four) Queensland prisons and have been either machine tested or sniffer dog inspected. I have recorded a positive test result only at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre. There are countless visitors in the same situation.

I am raising this petition so as to effect an immediate change in the visitor drug testing procedure at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre and for all records of positive test results to be deleted from their records.


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