Since the 2015 inspection, senior management at Wooroloo has continued to drive positive change. Relations between management and staff have become stronger, and morale has improved.
Service provision across the prison was supporting rehabilitation and reintegration. Short courses at the Education Centre were improving employment prospects. Transitional management gave prisoners access to essential documentation before release. Prisoners on the Peer Support Team helped orient new arrivals, in addition to their primary focus on the welfare of men at risk of self-harm.
Prisoners commented favourably on the relaxed, empowered feel of the prison. Men could move freely between accommodation units and most places of employment. The Wooroloo visits centre provided a spacious, friendly, and family-focused atmosphere. Staff were respectful yet alert.
Wooroloo did face challenges. The system-wide case management process was hampered by infrequent contact between designated officers and prisoners. Prisoners and taxpayers paid the price of the Department’s failure to schedule prisoner assessments and therapeutic programs in time for parole applications. Too many minimum-security prisoners were facing parole denial, and the cost of serving full sentences was high.
The Inspector called for the Department to support Wooroloo to manage the increasing prisoner population, and to provide programs, education and employment to help men address their offending behaviours. Only then could Wooroloo become ‘Australia’s leading re-entry prison’.