• Orientation had been relocated to make way for a protection precinct, which for a short time disrupted processes. New prisoners were spending a short period (24 to 48 hours) in the orientation unit before being moved to mainstream accommodation.
  • New young offenders were no longer being automatically placed on the Department’s At-Risk Monitoring System (ARMS).
  • Hakea is not well equipped to house elderly, infirm or disabled prisoners, and has no cells or accommodation options specifically for wheelchair users.
  • Lack of CCTV coverage across Hakea poses ongoing risks. Investment in improved video-recording capability would protect staff and prisoners.
  • The fence that separates Melaleuca Women’s Prison from Hakea has visible weak points. There have been two instances of Hakea prisoners breaching the fence line with Melaleuca.
  • Strip searching processes had recently changed and some officers felt this would allow prisoners to secrete contraband.
  • Hakea was managing COVID-19 risks well, in spite of the crowding, poor hygiene and inadequate infrastructure that we found. Hakea did not, however, have a systemic approach to environmental health and hygiene.
  • There had been some improvement to recreation services since our last inspection, but organised activities were minimal. Access to Hakea’s two libraries, including its legal library, was irregular.
  • Hakea’s kitchen is old and poorly maintained. As a result, it poses health and safety risks. Three recent health and safety assessments of Hakea’s food safety made negative findings, including that maintenance and repair of the kitchen is required in order to meet Food Safety Standards.
  • Prisoner satisfaction with health services was low and an ineffective booking system was contributing to long wait times for appointments. There was also inadequate screening of new prisoners for mental health issues and cognitive disorders.
  • Despite the best intentions of staff, there was no evidence that the healthcare provided was culturally safe. There were no Aboriginal health staff, mental health workers or Liaison Officers as seen in most health settings.
  • The efficiency of the Psychological Health Services (PHS) team was compromised by a lack of rooms to work from. There was no consistent approach to mental health referrals, making it challenging for health care staff to refer patients to appropriate care.
  • Hakea typically holds the highest numbers of prisoners with psychiatric needs in the state. Without a dedicated mental health care unit they are dispersed across the large prison site, and the mental health team spend a lot of time moving from unit to unit.
  • Prison mental health teams cannot provide the same level of care to acutely unwell patients as an inpatient mental health unit. Therefore, Hakea holds a cohort of people whose mental illness cannot be properly treated on site.
  • At-risk identification and management training were lacking for some key roles, including those responsible for determining the placement and monitoring level of vulnerable prisoners. Some processes for the review of at-risk prisoners were also rushed and lacked a therapeutic approach.
  • There was little support for prisoners with addictions, despite substance use being extremely common. There was no standardised approach to medicating those facing withdrawal, resulting in inconsistent responses and outcomes.
  • Demand was not being met for transitional services, the loss of administrative support left the Transitional Manager office-bound and consumed with paperwork. Prisoners who engaged with the services found them valuable, but too many were missing out.
Page last updated: May 4, 2022
140: Inspection of Hakea Prison