The new Eastern Goldfields prison is a world-class, state of the art facility. It balances modern security technology with excellent design for service delivery to the majority Aboriginal prisoners. The three male accommodation units inside the secure perimeter allow hierarchical progression from maximum to minimum security, and a pre-release minimum-security unit for men is located outside the perimeter. Women are appropriately segregated in their own unit.
The health centre has consultation and treatment rooms, and a full dental suite. All units have passive and active recreation facilities, and a full-size oval and temperature-controlled gymnasium are centrally located.
At the time of the inspection, the new prison had been open just 20 weeks, and was half full. Goldfields and desert prisoners were pleased to be closer to home. Despite disruption after the recent escape, adequate staffing and infrastructure promised strong rehabilitation and reintegration opportunities.
By mid-February, education and training had resumed, and appropriately-supervised gender mixing was happening in education classes and at recreation. Unfortunately, employment remained limited, and although extra therapeutic programs had been scheduled, they were not designed to address the treatment needs of Aboriginal prisoners from goldfields and desert communities.
By mid-year, the Inspector was pleased to report the re-opening of the Warburton Work Camp, mothballed since November 2015. In Kalgoorlie, the prison population had risen above 250, and few goldfields or desert prisoners remained out-of-country. Custodial services in the goldfields and desert communities had never been better. The key to long-term success lay in connecting with local communities and service providers, and delivering appropriate rehabilitation programs.