There have been some noticeable improvements in several aspects of the prison and its operations since our last inspection. However, everyone we spoke to agreed that the infrastructure was unsuitable, well past its useful life, and in need of replacement.
The state government announced in May 2019 that it had set aside $1.4 million to plan for a replacement prison in Broome. This inspection was undertaken within this context, noting that the planning, design and construction of a new prison would take several years.
We have identified in this report many opportunities for improvement in areas such as services and programs for prisoners, employment options, and other essential supports. Many prisoners told us they were bored and had little to occupy their time in prison. This was not surprising given the lack of education, programs, and limited employment opportunities.
The planning for a new prison in Broome will inevitably have to consider questions around what its role, direction and operating philosophy might be. The answers may well inform what ought to be done in Broome in the intervening years.