• Casuarina is an increasingly crowded, complex, and transient prison. The prisoner count increased by 20 per cent in 2015–2016 to around 950, and remand prisoners typically make up more than 40 per cent of the population.
  • Prison infrastructure and resourcing are insufficient for present and future need. In particular, Casuarina does not have the resources to service the increasing number of remand prisoners.
  • The health centre at Casuarina is not providing adequate health care screening, physical care, mental care or dental care. The infirmary needs an upgrade and improved policy and practice. Palliative care needs more attention at Casuarina and across the prison system.
  • Staffing groups worked well to manage prisoners identified as at risk of self-harm, but the Prison Counselling Service is poorly resourced and not meeting need. Other services, such as chaplains and Prison Support Officers, were experiencing increased demand as it became harder to access counselling.
  • Recreation had improved, with good collaboration with health and education, but high numbers meant that too many prisoners were still missing out. The unit recreation yards were well utilised and provided a vital pressure valve.
  • The kitchen is well-managed, but safety and hygiene is compromised by inadequate infrastructure. Food handling practises were deficient in many of the units.
  • Education was operating well for a small percentage of prisoners but needs expansion. The education centre is too small for the increasing prisoner population.
  • 57 per cent of prisoners were unemployed or underemployed. Industrial officer positions were vacant, many industrial officers were not trained, and worksites were often closed. Investment is needed in industries and employment.
  • Large numbers of prisoners moved to Casuarina from Hakea Prison without an Individual Management Plan. Without this key sentence planning document, prisoners are unable to start addressing their rehabilitative treatment needs.
  • Changes in prisoner population and profile had adversely affected programs. Transferring prisoners into the prison to complete programs was extremely difficult because there was no bed space. There are few robust evaluations of program relevance and effectiveness.
  • There are simply too many prisoners for the available facilities. Crowding has adversely affected relational security and incentives for prisoners. There is limited space to house and manage the differing high-security regimes accommodated at Casuarina. Some aspects of procedural security need improvement.
  • Medical escorts compromise safety, security and staffing levels. The level of service provided under contract (previously by Serco and now by Broadspectrum) is not adequate to meet the operational needs of the prison system. As a result, Casuarina officers are regularly required to supervise prisoners in hospital, leaving the prison short-staffed.
  • Casuarina’s budget and staffing levels were insufficient, based on a daily average population of 840 when the actual population had been well over 900 since May 2016. As such, the prison was faced with either exceeding its budget or reducing functions and limiting operations.
  • Casuarina had a strong and relatively stable management team. Staff were under pressure but unified. Representation of women in senior levels, and Aboriginal staff generally, was too low. Opportunities for improvement in both need to be identified.
Page last updated: August 17, 2017
110: Inspection of Casuarina Prison