• We made several recommendations in our 2018 inspection report which were focussed on addressing infrastructure inadequacies in Albany. These inadequacies were acknowledged by the Department, but the Department’s planning for the State’s prison network is not yet concluded, so the future intentions for Albany’s ailing infrastructure are yet to be determined.
  • We found significant improvement in the utilisation of space in the existing reception centre, in reception processes and in storage arrangements since the previous inspection. As part of the prison’s first night strategy, male prisoners, especially those newly received from court, are usually placed in C Wing of Unit 1.
  • The lack of up-to-date custodial technology places an added burden on staff and creates an impediment to effective services for prisoners.
  • Vacancies in custodial ranks, Vocational Support Officers and civilian staff were also driving stress, frustration and low morale.
  • We found areas of good practice in the provision of services for foreign nationals in Albany and a new local order was developed. But access to foreign language materials was quite restricted and fewer Asian foods were available through the canteen. In addition, the local order fell short of the WA Language Services Policy.
  • We were glad to see that A and B Wings of Unit 1 was closed. But we were concerned there was no clear plan for their future and that both wings had been made ready for re-occupation at short notice, with mattresses and linen on beds, and toiletry kits available in each cell.
  • Prisoners were also craving organised sporting competitions which were supposed to happen on weekends but ran only rarely.
  • Unlike many other prisons, prisoners in Albany were not permitted to possess, or borrow, musical instruments in their units. Art and crafts were also restricted. Only watercolour painting on small boards were allowed, not acrylics.
  • We were pleased to find a much more harmonious working environment in the health centre. There was a sound system in place for prisoners to request access to the health centre. The GP assessment 4-6 weeks following admission had been restored. But despite some improvements in equipment, the centre lacked sufficient and appropriate consulting rooms and the current layout compromises patient confidentiality and privacy.
  • While the At-Risk Management System (ARMS) operated well, Albany lacks a decent crisis care facility or infirmary for managing acutely at-risk prisoners. Observation cells in the management wing used currently are less than therapeutic and likely to exacerbate and extend their distress.
  • The prison lacked an escort vehicle equipped with a toilet, so prisoners were being inappropriately restrained on board to facilitate toilet access on the journey.
  • Albany now had a full-time treatment assessor enabling the assessments team to start to catch up with outstanding Initial Individual Management Plans. But a new prison procedure exempted Albany from undertaking Management and Placement Plans for remandees which leaves significant potential risks and needs as unknowns.
  • We found that a 2017 prison order rendered early discharge per s.31 of the Prisons Act 1981 entirely ineffective as a means to reward good behaviour and to reduce the high rate of imprisonment.
  • Case Management ran well but continued to offer little support or welfare to prisoners, or for their progression towards rehabilitation and reintegration on release. Offender programs provided were obsolete but running well.
  • Education offers a variety of good courses, but enrolments were down, as was the prison’s training capacity. But there is a need to invest in appropriate digital equipment and networks to support learning, and impart essential skills for accessing government services, and participate in modern workplaces to transition successfully upon release.
  • Aboriginal prisoners were greatly under-represented in prisoner industry and service areas. Specific pathways are needed to better engage Aboriginal prisoners in employment and training that will enhance their prospects on release.
Page last updated: January 20, 2022
138: Inspection of Albany Regional Prison