Wooroloo Prison Farm in 2014 hosted a 100th year anniversary celebration of the site’s foundation as a sanatorium for people with leprosy and tuberculosis. It had also served a local hospital before becoming a minimum security prison in 1972. The prison performed strongly for many years, but in our third inspection of Wooroloo in 2009 we found a prison troubled by unstable management, staff shortages, conflict among staff, weaker relations between prisoners and prison officers, and a much larger prison population. A new perimeter fence had also changed its character as a minimum security prison in which individual responsibility was pivotal. In 2012 our concerns about Wooroloo increased. Many of the issues we saw in 2009 remained, while additional problems around staff communication and a lack of meaningful employment for prisoners had also developed.
Thus in approaching the 2015 inspection, this Office was concerned to see whether there was greater stability in the management of Wooroloo, a stronger sense of direction, staff morale had improved and better relations between staff and prisoners. We were also keen to explore how effective was Wooroloo in rehabilitation of prisoners through offending programs, work, training and re-entry systems, whether there was substantive equality for Aboriginal prisoners held there and what contribution was being made through its industries and farming activities.