Legal Groundup

Legal Studies from the ground up

Application Excercise 4d

“Institutional powers of Victoria Police and Corrections Victoria impact on individual rights”. Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this statement, justifying your opinion with
There is a need for there to be a balance between institutional powers and individual rights. The table below summarises this balance between powers and rights.


Institutional powers

Individual rights

Police powers include questioning suspects and asking him/ her for their name and address, arresting suspects, body searches, searching property, obtaining forensic body samples, taking fingerprints, asking suspects to participate in an identification parade, taking photos and tapping telephone calls, text messages, and emails.

Individuals have the right to silence and not answer any questions; be informed of the charge; the right to request police officer for their name, rank and ID; the right to telephone/ communicate with a lawyer or a family member/ friend, refuse to be searched unless under arrest, refuse police to search property without a warrant, not consent to body samples being taken unless police have a court order, refuse to participate in an ID parade.

An institution like Corrections Victoria has rights and powers in relation to prisoners.

Powers of Corrections Victoria include:

  • the power to regulate the lives of prisoners through the Corrections Act 1986 (Vic.).
  • have restrictions placed on prisoners’ lives due to the prison environment
  • whilst prisoners have certain rights they are subject to the discretionary management decisions of correctional administrators, who also need to balance the concerns of good order and security of the prison.




Prisoners’ rights include:

  • to be provided with food, clothing, have access to reasonable medical care and treatment if necessary
  • given the passing of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) there is now the scope to recognise prisoners’ rights in Victorian prisons. Victorian prisons need to ensure that their procedures and practices conform to the Charter, as existing corrections legislation such as the Corrections Act and Corrections Regulations is now interpreted in light of the Charter. Human rights in the Charter that are directly relevant to prisoners include protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and humane treatment when deprived of liberty. There is the expectation that correctional authorities adapt their practices in order to ensure prisoners have these human rights.
  • prisoners have the right to legal remedies, such as obtaining an injunction requiring prison authorities to comply with legal requirements that are to benefit prisoners, such as if a prisoner was being denied their legal right to mail or visits.

Bail-giving courts greater powers to deny bail to ensure the safety of the community or to ensure a person’s appearance at court, as opposed to releasing offenders out on bail.

Individuals have a right to bail because bail upholds the presumption of innocence, which means an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

The bail system needs to fairly balance the rights of the accused with the safety of the community.

When a person is being questioned the person asking the questions, whether it is the police or someone from another institution, has the power to ask questions in relation to the offence allegedly committed.

The rights a person being questioned is they have the right to remain silent and not answer any questions, especially if it will incriminate themselves. Also, a person has the right to wait for their legal representation to be present before answering any questions.