Historical uncertainty at Broome Regional Prison has translated into ailing infrastructure

The future of the prison has been clouded by uncertainty for years, but re-establishing senior management positions was restoring stability. There were many infrastructure limitations. The maximum-security section was still an overcrowded and depressing space, and the women’s unit had been further restricted and was sometimes being shared with male prisoners. Fortunately, the basketball courts were set to become accessible to all prisoners and the hazards of the kitchen, dining room and medical centre had been removed. Education, administration and office spaces were still limited and mould still visible. Risks removed in the maximum-security section ablutions were not matched in the minimum-security area. Maintenance was challenging in a prison already unfit for purpose.

Enhancing treatment and services for prisoners

We observed some improvements in Broome prison compared to our last inspection in 2017. The prison continues its journey to resuming the functions of a standalone facility. Improvements included recruiting essential positions; the repair, refit and rebuild of key infrastructure; and the tendering for critical health services for the high-needs prisoner population managed in Broome. But there was still room for the prison to do better. The focus for Broome must be to ensure that prisoners receive humane and decent treatment now and over the coming years while the new prison is planned, designed, and ultimately constructed.

The need to plan ahead and re-engage the community

Community engagement is vital to the future success of the prison and the work camp at Wyndham. It can provide positive outcomes and opportunities for prisoners, and lead to reducing the likelihood of reoffending. For the prison and the prisoners to reach their potential, policy and planning for the current prison needs to be developed and bedded down, and a full suite of prisoner services should be offered. A strategic custodial plan for the region should be used to frame the purpose, design, and management of the new prison.

Page last updated: March 5, 2020

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