Casuarina Prison (‘Casuarina’) is the state’s primary maximum-security prison for men. It is located approximately 35 kilometres south of Perth in the City of Kwinana.
Casuarina provides specialist statewide services for the Western Australian prison population. It accommodates prisoners considered to be particularly dangerous and/or difficult to manage, as well as those assessed to be at high risk from others. It also provides health services to all prisoners who require preparation for, or recuperation from, hospital intervention through an on-site infirmary.
Casuarina opened in 1991 to replace Fremantle Prison. Casuarina’s original design capacity was for 397 prisoners. At that time it was considered a large prison, primarily intended for sentenced prisoners to undertake industrial employment, related training and rehabilitative programs.
During our inspection Casuarina routinely held close to 950 prisoners. In the 12 months to 30 June 2016, Casuarina’s population increased by 20 per cent from 785 to 943. This was higher than the total WA prison population increase over the same period of 14 per cent. In 2016 Casuarina had the most acute levels of crowding for any male prison in the state, operating at 190 per cent of design capacity. Cell sharing was the norm.