The Independent Visitor Service

The Independent Visitor Service provides people in custody and youth detention the opportunity to raise complaints and concerns to independent community volunteers to help improve standards in custodial facilities.

The service is an independent form of external scrutiny that monitors the standards of treatment and services in Western Australian prisons and detention centres. As such the service contributes to the vision of a transparent and accountable custodial system.

  • Are you looking for an opportunity to contribute to your community?
  • Would you like to give a voice to people in custody and youth detention?
  • Are you independent, objective, reliable, honest, and open minded?

If yes, contact us to apply to join our dedicated team of Independent Visitors.

To learn more about the Independent Visitor Service, read our frequently asked questions below.

The Independent Visitors Service is a volunteer-based scheme that provides an additional form of monitoring of prisons and youth detention centres in Western Australia.

Independent Visitors visit and inspect their allocated facilities on a regular basis to monitor the standards of treatment and services delivered. They also provide people in custody an opportunity to voice complaints and concerns.

Independent Visitors are volunteers who contribute to their community by ensuring Western Australian prisons and detention centres operate justly and humanely.

We encourage people from all walks of life to consider becoming an Independent Visitor. There is no requirement to have prior experience working in prisons or youth detention centres.

A person cannot be appointed an Independent Visitor at a prison or detention centre where they have a financial interest in a service being delivered under a contract at that facility. Independent Visitors are also not allowed to carry out the duties of a visiting justice.

To learn more about the application process, submit an enquiry or contact us at

Independent Visitors are appointed to a specific facility by the Minister for Corrective Services on the advice of the Inspector of Custodial Services for a term of two years.

Independent Visitors attend their allocated prison or detention centre at least once every three months to talk with people in custody and staff about their concerns or issues regarding the facility.

Visits take place during office hours. There is no after hours or weekend work. A visit would normally take a number of hours in order for the facility to be viewed and so those wishing to speak with the Independent Visitor can have access to them. Visitors generally spend between 3-5 hours on a visit.

All visits are undertaken in pairs with another Independent Visitor.

Following their visit, they are required to make a short report to the Inspector in writing, and to include in that report a record of any complaint made by or on behalf of a person in custody.

Such information helps the Inspector of Custodial Services monitor the prison or detention centre and can be useful in identifying thematic issues within the prison system.

People in custody may talk to Independent Visitors about a range of issues or concerns. These concerns may cover any aspect of daily life – including accommodation, food, employment, property, daily activities such as programs and recreation, access to health care, the conduct of staff, and other matters.

Often issues raised can be resolved easily by talking with staff and feeding back information to the person concerned. Sometimes more complex matters may need escalating to prison management and further follow-up.

Where more serious conduct concerns are raised, these should be reported to the Inspector.

Sometimes people in custody may want to talk about confidential personal problems. If the issue they raise needs following-up with staff, Independent Visitors should make sure the individual is comfortable with the matter being discussed so the appropriate assistance can be provided.

Within seven days, Independent Visitors write and submit a report on their visit to the Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services. The report will include concerns raised, outcomes that may have been achieved or possible solutions discussed with the Superintendent and staff, and any observations the Visitor wishes to make about the prison or detention centre.

Each Independent Visitor report is distributed to the other Visitors who visit the same facility.

Independent Visitors should be comfortable with word processing and communicating via email.

Contact us to apply

Page last updated: 22 Mar 2024