Drone prison ban takes off

Drones will be banned from being used near jails after several were spotted near the three Ravenhall prisons.

The state government introduced changes to the Corrections Act 1986 last week that will make it an offence to intentionally or recklessly operate a drone at or near a prison, punishable by up to two years’ jail.

The changes follow a number of drone sightings near the Melbourne Assessment Prison, Metropolitan Remand Centre, Dame Phyllis Frost Centre and the new Ravenhall prison.

Three years ago, a man was charged after allegedly using a drone to smuggle drugs into the Metropolitan Remand Centre. The charges were later dropped.

A justice department spokesman said that while there hadn’t been any other incidents of people attempting to use drones to smuggle contraband into prisons, the new law would help boost the security and prevent future incidents.

Corrections Minister Gayle Tierney said drones posed a “significant risk” to prisons.

“We’re doing everything we can to stop contraband being smuggled into prison, which will make them safer for both staff and inmates,” Ms Tierney said.

“We’re sending a very strong message to anyone thinking of new ways to smuggle in contraband – you will be caught.”