• Karnet had a proactive, engaged and organised peer support team, led by a long-term Prison Support Officer (PSO), who provided an exceptional service to prisoners.
  • Karnet had established a prison council as a representative forum for prisoners.
  • The historically low number of Aboriginal prisoners at Karnet remained an issue.
  • Many Aboriginal prisoners felt that staff did not understand or respect their culture.
  • Prisoners maintained good connections with family and friends through social visits.
  • Prisoners were satisfied with the diversity of active and passive recreation options.
  • The clinical health care staff at Karnet are a very experienced, dedicated, and motivated team. A reduction in general practitioner (GP) services had caused issues since the previous inspection, leading to wait times of 4–6 weeks. However, GP attendance was increased after our inspection, which has considerably improved the service provision for prisoners.
  • There was no Aboriginal health worker employed at Karnet. Nor had there been any progress in establishing an Aboriginal-centred health service or in-reach partnership with an external Aboriginal medical service.
    Most of the complaints received about health services related to accessing dental care. Since the inspection, there has been considerable progress with the dental waitlist.
  • A full-time Mental Health Nurse had been employed, increasing mental health coverage substantially since our last inspection. However, the Prison Counselling Service (PCS) presence had dropped from three days per week to one.
  • The education centre was operating well and provided a comprehensive program of accredited and non-accredited courses and traineeships. But any expansion of education was limited by inadequate infrastructure.
  • Most prisoners were meaningfully employed, but maintaining this was a constant challenge. Workshops and staff were under mounting pressure to keep production and employment up and running despite staff shortages impacting all work areas.
  • A good proportion of the prisoner population was approved to leave the prison to undertake activities in the community. But far fewer were actually participating in community work.
  • The sentence planning team at Karnet managed assessments and case management well. However, a significant system-wide backlog in assessments was having an impact.
  • Program delivery at Karnet had decreased because treatment needs were unknown. The statewide assessments backlog meant there was a low number of prisoners at minimum-security who had been assessed as requiring a program.
  • A range of staff from various service areas of the prison worked hard to keep reintegration opportunities open to eligible prisoners.
  • There had been a change in the contracted re-entry service provider since the last inspection in 2016. We heard positive feedback about the new service provider, ReSet.
  • The physical layout of the gatehouse made it difficult to control the movement of staff and visitors.
  • There were mixed perceptions about relationships between officers and prisoners.
  • Senior management instability was affecting staff morale and prisoner services.
  • Farm output is struggling to meet demand from the growing prisoner population. To ensure continuing self-sustainability, infrastructure in the abattoir, dairy, and other industries will need to be replaced and expanded soon.
Page last updated: May 21, 2020
127: Inspection of Karnet Prison Farm