The expansion to 1,395 prisoners was a huge endeavour. It was generally well-managed in the face of serious risks. Filling the additional 387 beds was a significant logistical and human exercise that carried very high risks. The exercise was completed successfully, in a relatively short period of time with few incidents. Both Serco and the Department should be commended for achieving such an impressively timely, smooth and safe ‘fill’ exercise.
The introduction of ‘communities’ within Acacia was an intelligent innovation that other prisons in the state should follow. The prison is now well poised for its next era.
After examining all the evidence, this Office was comfortable with the Department of Corrective Services’ ultimate decision to renew the prison services contract for another five years. This decision removes uncertainty around prison operations, offering a positive opportunity for Serco and the Department of Corrective Services to build on achievements and drive performance outcomes linked to reducing recidivism. Both Serco and the Department of Corrective Services have laid excellent foundations for a positive future, foundations that now must be built on.
Of continuing concern to us, however, is the department’s ongoing inability to accurately be accountable for the indirect costs it incurs to run the prison. This mainly relates to what the department itself spends to provide some of the services to prisoners and to oversee the contract. This must be addressed urgently.