The Office is required by the Inspector of Custodial Services Act (2003) (the Act) to inspect each prison, detention centre, court custody centre and prescribed lock up in Western Australia at least once every three years. The Inspector has autonomous authority to decide which facilities to inspect and in what order. However, the Act provides that the responsible Minister may direct the Inspector to conduct an inspection or review of a custodial service.

Full Inspection is a routine inspection conducted according to the legislative requirement for each custodial facility or service to be inspected at least once every three years. These inspections are scheduled according to the required three year cycle. Such inspections follow the standard planning and procedures developed by the Office and contained in its Inspection Manual for Inspection and Research Officers.

Unannounced and short follow-up inspections occur outside of the routine three year cycle required by our legislation. They are typically reserved for custodial places where there may have been a critical event that requires the Inspector to exercise his powers and functions in the public interest. These inspections may also occur when the inspector receives information over a period of time that suggests that the performance of a prison has deteriorated to such an extent that the treatment and conditions for prisoners are being compromised. This information may come from a variety of sources, such as liaison visit notes and Independent Visitor reports.

Each custodial facility or services that falls within the jurisdiction of the Office is allocated a Inspection and Research Officer to act as a liaison officer between the office and the facility or provider. This designated liaison officer is responsible for developing an ongoing relationship with the facility and a knowledge of its operations and progress against previous inspection reports. A key aspect of undertaking this task is to conduct a minimum number of on-site liaison visits to their designated facilities each financial year. The number of visits required is determined by the assessed level of risk that the facility poses and encompasses such factors as size, security level, and previous inspection findings and assessments. At a minimum each facility is subject to at least four liaison visits per year.

Since 2007 the Inspector has published three standards to assist it during its inspections. The three standards are:

The publication of these standards represented an important contribution to consistency and transparency of prison inspection in Western Australia. The standards were developed taking into account the full range of relevant international treaties, covenants, and the Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia. They have also drawn upon the UK Prison Service’s Decency Agenda, the UK Inspector of Prisons’ Expectations, the then Western Australia Ministry of Justice Inspections Manual, the national correctional reporting framework, observed practice, community standards and relevant research into the performance of custodial services. But perhaps most influential in developing the standards was the experience gained in inspections conducted and reported upon by the Inspector since 2001.

Page last updated: 20 Jun 2018

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