• The key message from this inspection of Boronia was that the centre is doing well, but we expect it to do better. The Inspector challenged them to be agile, responsive and innovative, rather than defensive and content with the status quo.
  • The site is in excellent shape. The gardens are beautiful, and the buildings are in good condition. Prisoners and staff feel safe and the centre’s approach to security is balanced and effective.
  • Boronia has not remained immune from the crowding affecting all the prisons across WA. From a design capacity of 70, it is now required to house up to 95 prisoners. This means that a lot of residents are sharing rooms. The philosophy and values of the centre are impacted by the crowding: education, health and employment have not been expanded in line with increased numbers, and the ability of mothers to bond with their children has been reduced.
  • The number of Aboriginal women represented at the centre had increased in the three years since the previous inspection. This was positive, and in keeping with this Office’s expectations of Boronia we consider that more can be done for this group of women, for example an Aboriginal-specific re-entry strategy.
  • We were again disappointed at the limited section 95 program at Boronia. Only a handful of women were using this provision to leave the centre as part of the work program. We found that the residents were not leaving for other community-based activities such as recreation and mother/child activities.
  • The relationship between staff and residents was positive and respectful.
  • A change of uniform from the baggy, ill-fitting maroons was well overdue. And we were told that this was in train.
  • The inspection report draws comparisons with the privately-operated Wandoo Reintegration Facility for young men. Wandoo only opened in 2012 but if it does not achieve results, its future as a reintegration facility is at stake. Wandoo must meet a number of contractual performance requirements, many of which are based on reducing recidivism.
  • In that regard, this Office has repeatedly urged the Department to commission and publish an independent evaluation of Boronia’s post-release outcomes. In this climate of contestability, Boronia should be held to account. The department should set defined outcome-based measures for Boronia, and should evaluate and report publicly on these, as it does for the privately-operated Wandoo.
Page last updated: November 4, 2015
100: Report of An Announced Inspection of Boronia Pre-Release Centre For Women