Resources and Systems
- The withdrawal of the remand population had a profound effect on Bandyup. The prison was calmer and less volatile than in previous years.
- Bandyup was experiencing a window of opportunity to address long overdue maintenance and infrastructure deficits. The Department instigated a change management project to determine what would be necessary for Bandyup to comply with its new Women’s Standard. Several deficits were identified, and upgrades to key infrastructure recommended.
- Staff felt their working lives had improved, but uncertainty about the future created stress.
- We found that the Department’s performance development systems and procedures were ineffective and that staff were insufficiently trained in administering them.
Care and Wellbeing
- The reduced number of prisoners had a positive impact on the provision of many services. However, this was often due to a decreased demand for services, rather than any improvement in the services themselves.
- Women had improved perceptions of clothing, bedding, and laundry. Nonetheless these were well below the average for the state.
- Pregnant women did not have adequate uniform options and had to leave their stomachs exposed. This was undignified and uncomfortable.
- Food perceptions had improved. Dish-up procedures had and changes to canteen procedures saw a calmer, safer, and more secure process. Traditional food options for Aboriginal women had improved, but still fell short of expectations.
- As has been the case for 15 years, Bandyup’s visits centre does not meet the needs of officers, prisoners, or visitors. Video-link capabilities have improved, but Skype for visits should be introduced.
- The lack of regular family visits is an obvious gap at Bandyup. In keeping with the Women’s Standards, Bandyup should introduce family visits to enhance contact between the women and their families.
- Aboriginal women were more settled, and the calmer atmosphere saw them taking up greater opportunities in education and employment. We encourage management and staff to make the most of this window for better engagement.
- Bandyup continued its positive record in the management of women and babies. However, nursery houses were at capacity and pregnant women (including those in their third trimester) were residing in units across Bandyup.
- Disappointingly health and wellbeing services had not been revisited, despite the opportunity presented by a reduced population. Bandyup’s change management process identified the health centre as a key infrastructure deficit, being too small and unfit for purpose.
- Mental health care remained crisis driven. It was not delivered in a holistic manner, and women suffering from depression or other psychological problems were missing out on support services.
- Orientation was occurring, but information was outdated. Relevant infrastructure and processes were highlighted by Bandyup’s change management process as in need of improvement.
- Delivery of offender treatment programs was not meeting demand or need. While the number of female prisoners in the state had increased, program delivery had decreased.
- Progress was being made towards introducing Section 95 at Bandyup. The benefits this could have for women’s rehabilitation are considerable, and any risks should prove manageable.
- The education centre was operating effectively, with education and training programs well-designed, planned, and implemented.
Safety and Security
- The decrease in the prisoner population significantly eased tensions between officers and the prisoners. Relational security had improved greatly but longstanding physical and procedural security issues remained.
Women’s Centred Structured Day
- The structured day model supports women to practice self-determination. But the model was under review, and management were considering returning Bandyup to the standard operating day found at male prisons. The Department should continue to uphold a women-centred approach to managing women prisoners.