In 2021 Hakea held fewer prisoners than in previous inspections, with its population dropping from 1,146 in 2018 to 939. Despite this, we found the prison remained under pressure due to increasingly aged infrastructure and resource challenges.
We identified concerning infrastructure challenges in several areas, including:
- Poor accommodation cell amenity and decency
- Poor CCTV coverage creating safety and security risks
- Inadequate spaces for prisoner employment, education and training
- Health and safety risks in the kitchen
- Inadequate office space for support services to be delivered
However, it was health services that dominated the key findings of this inspection. The provision of primary health, mental health, addiction management, and self-harm prevention, all were a source of risk and concern. Infrastructure, staffing, policy and processes all contributed to our findings. It resulted in 12 of 21 recommendations falling within health/mental health service area.
As the main metropolitan remand prison, Hakea’s reception and services to facilitate court appearances functioned well. However, changes to orientation procedures and staffing redeployments created risks to settling new, often anxious and detoxing arrivals.
Many of the challenges in delivering services came from the absence of staff on the ground each day, resulting in redeployment from their own roles to cover basic security functions.
Positively, relationships between staff and management at Hakea were more settled and positive than we had seen in previous years. And although the senior management team were not all substantive, they were cohesive, worked well together and had a clear direction. This generally resulted in a more positive staffing group.