What is the role of the Office?

We are an independent statutory body with a strong focus on performance standards in custodial facilities and the rights of people in custody. We report directly to Parliament, ensuring a high level of transparency and accountability to our work.

Our responsibilities include:

  • inspecting adult prisons, youth detention centres, court custody centres and prescribed lock-ups
  • reviewing custodial services, including a custodial service in relation to one or more particular individuals
  • carrying out thematic reviews
  • managing and supporting the Independent Visitor Service.

The Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services was established in 2000 following amendments to the Prisons Act 1981. The goal was to ensure a strong, independent inspection regime for prisons, court custody centres, prisoner transport, and a small number of prescribed lockups.

In 2003, Parliament enacted the Inspector of Custodial Services Act 2003 (the Act). This extended our jurisdiction to youth detention centres.

In 2011, the Act was amended to give us additional powers to examine specific aspects of custodial services, including the experience of individuals or groups of individuals.

The Act provides the Inspector with wide ranging powers of access to facilities, people, documents and information in order to carry out the functions of the Office.


The Office was established as a department under the Public Sector Management Act 1994 by means of the Prisons Amendment Act 1999. Parliament subsequently enacted the Inspector of Custodial Services Act 2003.

The Office is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act 1992 and the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1971 in accordance with Schedule 2, Clauses 4 and 5 of the Inspector of Custodial Services Act 2003 respectively.

Key relationships

The Office has a diverse range of key stakeholders with different interests, needs and levels of influence. This includes groups directly influenced by its services, people involved in the WA correctional system, and those with a wider interest in social justice, human rights and corrections.

Pre-inspection consultation 

The inspection of the state’s juvenile and adult custodial facilities includes a process whereby community members are invited to provide feedback as well as agencies identified by the facility as ‘service providers’. The consultation process explores their experience of the facility, the custodial and non-custodial staff and the persons in the custody.  This input can impact on themes to be explored during the inspection.

Page last updated: 14 Mar 2024