• While the prison routine was modified due to COVID-19 restrictions, including cessation of contact visits, the prison was still full of life, with most areas functioning quite well.
  • A comprehensive response to the pandemic was helping people feel safe.


  • Bandyup’s senior management team was more stable and had implemented a business plan that outlined a vision and mission for the prison.
  • Despite some notable infrastructure improvements, Bandyup is hampered by outdated infrastructure and demountable buildings.


  • Staff continued to make do in a reception facility that was unfit for purpose.
  • Orientation had improved but had to be modified under COVID-19.
  • The prison had some fine accommodation, while some was well below standard, and all was crowded due to double-bunking.
  • Prisoners experience uncomfortable cell temperatures, particularly in winter.
  • Aboriginal women were still over-represented in Unit 1, and fewer were living in self-care units.
  • Women were happier with the food supplied, but kitchen maintenance needs attention.


  • Social visits were cancelled to help counter COVID-19. Free phone calls were provided instead, and e-visits were a welcome addition.
  • The accommodation of pregnant women needs more development.
  • Good processes were in place to manage mothers-to-be, and mothers with babies, but a permanent coordinator was needed.
  • Support for new mothers was diminished by changes to contracting arrangements.


  • Health services aspired to excellence in health care. A good effort was made to implement a women-centred approach.
  • Cultural security for Aboriginal patients still needs improvement.
  • Changes in practice were made following the birth-in-cell incident including better communication and information sharing.
  • Primary dental care was available, but no restorative care and limited preventative care.
  • Prisoners were frustrated at slow response from mental health staff and counsellors.
  • A sub-acute mental health ward approved for Bandyup should have a positive impact and greatly assist in managing seriously unwell mental health patients state wide.
  • Health infrastructure, which had been audited by a healthcare architect, was found noncompliant in many ways and an impediment to safe health care.
  • While Crisis Care had a new ‘sensory garden’, inadequate staffing, limited amenities and location next to the MMU made it a less than therapeutic environment.
  • Peer support prisoners needed more support and training, and more Aboriginal members were needed. Chaplains continued to provide much needed support during COVID-19.


  • The ‘women-centred’ structured day had been discontinued, but a flexible approach by staff allowed women to participate in various daily activities.
  • Bandyup has good recreation resources, but access was often compromised by staff-redeployments.
  • Employment levels were bolstered under COVID-19 as more cleaners were employed. We also found some areas of innovation the prison’s industry and employment (e.g. the development of the Beauty Spot salon).
  • Aboriginal women were under-represented in employment, especially at high pay levels.
  • Diverse education and training is provided at Bandyup and industries provide some authentic on-the-job training.
  • Community re-entry is jeopardised by limited access to and practice in using digital devices and resources.


  • A more balanced approach was being applied to assessment reports.
  • A significant assessments backlog had developed, but headway was being made.
  • Case management contacts for the few who were eligible were overdue and offered little benefit.
  • Remandees were generally well cared for but had limited access to education, training and programs.
  • Too many women were missing out on programs such as the Choices, Changes, Consequences program, and cognitive skills programs which has ceased to operate.
  • Bandyup had some effective pre-employment services and a range of re-entry supports and voluntary programs was available.


  • The perimeter fence had been repaired but razor wire remains & lighting needs improvement.
  • Scanning and surveillance systems need updating and extending, including CCTV coverage, the better use of body cameras, and non-intrusive body scanning devices.
  • The control room refit works better for staff but the operator was isolated.
  • The security team was well regarded, but its operational base was too small.
  • Saliva testing was ready for implementation, which would be an improvement from urine testing.
Page last updated: March 29, 2021
131: Inspection of Bandyup Women’s Prison