• Concerns were identified regarding some inappropriate staff behaviours. Examples provided by some staff were disturbing to hear, but the prison leadership and Department responded positively and were taking steps to address these concerns.
  • Only two per cent of staff at Wooroloo identified as Aboriginal, compared to 13.8 percent of the prisoner population.
  • Prisoners arriving at Wooroloo received a thorough orientation, where they were well supported by peer support. Unfortunately, we found that orientation interviews conducted by staff were not always undertaken in private, placing prisoner privacy at risk.
  • Wooroloo had a high proportion of foreign-born prisoners. Many of these men were at risk of failing the character test and having their visas cancelled under Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth.) These prisoners were desperate for information and support through the process.
  • We found that non-English speaking prisoners were not being offered adequate access to formal interpretation services. Most interpretation was being carried out using peer prisoners as translators.
  • COVID-19 restrictions on visit processes were very unpopular amongst prisoners. The restrictions in place were impacting on the bonds between fathers and their children. This was unfortunate, as the Wooroloo visits infrastructure offered impressive amenities.
  • Visitors could no longer deposit money into prisoners’ private cash accounts, meaning money orders were required, at greater cost to the sender.
  • Unmet treatment needs remained a concern for prisoners. In December 2020, there were 27 instances where prisoners had been assessed as needing a program which was unavailable due to excess demand or the program was not being offered at Wooroloo.
  • Mental health and psychological health services were adequately staffed and providing good prisoner service. The prison had a diverse and proactive peer support team in place however, we were concerned that only one member of that team had completed Gatekeeper suicide prevention training.
  • During our inspection we witnessed little improvement in the area of relational security, despite making a recommendation regarding this in 2018 (OICS, 2018, Recommendation 8). Consequently, we made a similar recommendation again this time.
  • Education at Wooroloo provided a good range of short courses however, there was confusion around what traineeships were being provided. The provision of these did not appear to be a priority for the prison. We also noted a lack of digital literacy training for prisoners.
  • We found employment opportunities to be a mixed bag at Wooroloo. Traditional industries inside the fence employed many men, many of whom earned high level gratuities. However, employment within external industries was hampered by approval processes.
  • Prisoners and staff both expressed significant frustration over head office delays in the processing of applications for the Prisoner Employment Program (PEP) and Re-Integration Leave (RIL). These delays were holding back prisoners who were preparing for release.
Page last updated: January 5, 2022
137: Inspection of Wooroloo Prison Farm