After an absence of nearly nineteen years, in 1990 the concept of solitary confinement was reinstated. Under section 36 of the Correctional Services Act 1982 the Chief Executive of the Department for Correctional Services may direct that a prisoner be kept separately and apart from all other prisoners within the prison if in his or opinion it is desirable:
- to investigate an alleged offence by the prisoner (once for up to thirty days [see ss 36(2)(a), 36(3) and 36(5)])
- for the prisoner's safety or welfare
- to protect other prisoners
- to ensure security or good order within the prison.
A prisoner confined for one of the last three reasons may be kept in solitary confinement for as long as the Chief Executive wishes [see s 36(4)]. The Minister for Correctional Services must be given a report about any such confinement (of 5 days or more duration in any 10 day period) and may review the decision and either confirm or revoke it [see ss 36(9) and 36(10)]. The prisoner confined must be given a copy of the Chief Executive's direction (which must be in writing) within twenty four hours of the direction [see s 36(7)].
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