Acacia opened in 2001 and was Western Australia’s first privately managed prison. Initially it was managed by Australasian Integration Management Services (AIMS), but Serco won the retendered bid to manage Acacia’s services in 2006.
The government’s contract with Serco was for an initial period of five years, with options for two five-year contract renewals. Our 2010 inspection was conducted towards the end of the first five-year period. Our findings were positive, and in 2011, the government offered Serco a five-year contract extension until May 2016.
In 2015, Acacia successfully managed a 387-bed expansion project, and in February 2016 Serco’s contract was extended for another five years. In 2018, a further 50 beds were installed at Acacia, bringing the capacity there to 1,525. The contract is now in its third year of the final five-year extension period which expires on 15 May 2021.
It was against this background of uncertainty about Serco and Acacia’s future post May 2021 that we inspected the prison in November 2018.