The law about prisoners in South Australia, whether they are held in prisons, police lock-ups or hospitals for mentally ill offenders is contained in the Correctional Services Act 1982 (SA). All references in this chapter are to this Act and the Correctional Services Regulations 2016 (SA) unless otherwise stated. While not every law governing prisoners is found in the Act or Regulations they do contain most aspects of the day to day running of prisons, the powers of prison officers and the entitlements and responsibilities of prisoners. The Act is administered by the Department for Correctional Services, in this chapter called the Department.
Other provisions affecting prisoners are in the Constitution Act 1934 (SA), the Electoral Act 1985 (SA), Sentencing Act 2017 (SA), the Mental Health Act 2009 (SA), the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA), the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA), the Young Offenders Act 1993 (SA), the Ombudsman Act 1972 (SA) and in certain Commonwealth Acts, such as the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth). The common law, through the decisions of the courts, also affects the rights of prisoners.
Prisoners are also subject to and protected by the general laws of the land. For example, a murder or other offence committed inside a prison is dealt with in exactly the same way as the same offence committed anywhere else.
Juvenile offenders (that is, offenders who are under 18 years of age) are not dealt with in the same manner as adult offenders, see Young offenders.