Information for legal advisers
There is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that exists between Tasmania Prison Service and the Law Society of Tasmania which forms the basis of an agreement between the parties regarding professional visits and telephone calls between legal representatives and their clients.
The General Provisions of the MoU are as follows:
- Legal representatives will make every effort to schedule visits and telephone calls with their clients at least 24 hours in advance and during the normal visiting hours of the facility at which the client is accommodated.
- The TPS will make provision for legal representatives to have timely and confidential access to their clients.
- Where urgent and essential contact with a client is required, legal representatives will make all reasonable effort to provide as much notice as possible and the TPS will endeavour to meet the legal representative’s needs. While every effort will be made to facilitate contact it is acknowledged that, on occasions, operational considerations and the high demand for professional visits may impact on the Prison Service’s ability to provide access on short notice or at the requested times.
Communication with prisoners
Communication between prisoners and their legal representatives can occur in a variety of ways:
- you can visit the prisoner in custody
- you can send a letter to (or receive a letter from) the prisoner
- you can ask the prisoner to telephone you.
Legal telephone calls
If your client is in custody, it is recommended that you ask them to list your business telephone number on their phone list.
Upon arrival at a prison, many prisoners routinely request to add legal representatives to their phone lists, however this is not automatically the case, and to minimise delays in communication it is recommended that you advise your client accordingly.
Prisoners may initiate contact with their legal representatives via the Unity telephone system during their normal out-of-cell hours. Calls from prisoners are limited to 10 minutes duration to ensure equitable access to the telephone system by all prisoners.
In the instance where a lawyer is required to place a legal call to their client, a booking will be required. Please call (03) 6165 7400 and select option 2 (professional visits) between 8:30am and 4:00pm on business days.
Each legal call placed to an inmate is limited to 20 minutes duration – if a longer conversation is required, a double booking will need to be made in advance.
Calls between legal representatives and their clients will not be monitored or recorded.
If you wish to visit your client in custody, please call the relevant prison to arrange an appropriate time. You must also produce appropriate identification when you visit the prison.
Please note that Prison Service officers are not authorised to handle complex legal paperwork such as serving papers or collecting affidavits.
Legal representatives will endeavour to book professional visits and telephone calls at least 24 hours in advance.
By prior arrangement, and where operational considerations allow, the TPS will facilitate urgent and essential legal appointments on days where visits are not routinely scheduled.
Telephone: (03) 6165 7400
Mail from prisoners' legal representatives is not opened unless staff are concerned about the legitimacy of either the contents or the sender (for example: potentially fictional law firm identified on the envelope; contents other than documents obviously contained in envelope).
In these very rare cases, the letter is opened by an officer in the presence of the relevant prisoner, and this action is documented. This procedure is outlined in Prison Service Director's Standing Order 4.2.
Video link / court attendance
If your client is appearing before a court via video link and you wish to make an appointment to communicate by telephone or face to face with them prior to their appearance, please contact the Activities Unit on (03) 6165 7400 and press 2. The staff will be able to assist you.
If your client is to physically appear in court, a 'body' warrant will need to be obtained from the court before the prisoner/detainee will be released under custodial supervision.
You should ask your client for information about parole, remission or other release dates relevant to them, rather than asking Prison Service staff.