The Corrections Amendment Regulations 2017 come into force on 1 July 2017, allowing trained and authorised frontline Corrections officers to carry pepper spray on their bodies.
Pepper spray is currently available for officers, but is held in secure storage within prisons and requires the consent of prison directors for planned events.
Security officers and staff members who are not officers will continue to be prohibited from carrying pepper spray.
An officer to whom pepper spray has been issued must keep it secure, and the prison manager must ensure that it is securely stored when it is not issued to an officer.
The new provisions allow officers who have been issued pepper spray to draw and use it both in the prison and while carrying out escort duty outside the prison.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston says that Corrections has chosen the same pepper spray that Police use, after extensive testing.
She says operational guidance for carrying and using pepper spray will be redeveloped by Corrections and the spray will be rolled out in stages across all prisons beginning in July.