The three years prior to this inspection have been one of the most settled periods in the recent history of Banksia Hill. During our inspection, we noted several factors that we hoped might allow Banksia Hill to progress and build on recent stability.
One of the more critical factors was Banksia Hill’s very low population. At the time of our inspection it held only 77 detainees, well below the maximum capacity of 215. This reduced workload pressure and eased tension within the centre. For the first time in recent years, Banksia Hill had a stable substantively appointed leadership team, supported by an experienced substantively appointed Deputy Commissioner for Women and Young People. There can be no better time than now to maximise the centre’s potential.
Many areas of the centre were already taking advantage of these opportunities. We saw noticeable improvements in health services, education, welfare, recreation, case planning and re-entry services.
There remained a level of dissatisfaction within the custodial staffing group, centred mainly around disagreements with senior management over staffing levels. However, both groups showed fundamental commitment to achieving positive outcomes for young people in custody.
Development of an operational philosophy for Banksia Hill will be key to ensuring a consistent and unified approach. Like any change process, sustainable improvement and success will be dependent on the engagement and involvement of all staff groups to ensure buy-in to the new strategic direction and philosophy. This will be one of our focus areas in our ongoing liaison and monitoring work with the centre.