Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison operates under a Public Private Partnership contract, an agreement the prison benefits from, with prompt responses to maintenance requests, and regular planned equipment replacements. However, the prison faces significant governance and staffing challenges that limit its ability to operate at its full potential. While the facility remains modern and secure, it is under-utilised, with 100 beds unoccupied despite a rising state prison population.

Among the most challenging issues is staffing, with recruitment and retention complexities compounded by outdated strategic plans and disparities in incentives. Efforts to improve community relations had been made, but concerns persisted regarding Aboriginal representation and workplace culture. Aboriginal prisoners faced systemic disadvantages, including high unemployment rates and gratuity disparities. Daily prison life was disrupted by staffing shortages, impacting the regime and access to activities.

The Department supported all 13 recommendations outlined in the draft report provided in December 2023, with eight recommendations already a current practice or project. Many of the report’s recommendations were first raised at the conclusion of our inspection. Proactive measures, including, installing additional CCTV cameras in reception, committing to reviewing the Conflict and Grievance Resolution Policy, and making use of the site of the old prison, demonstrate positive commitments to address key issues and improve the prison’s operational efficiency. Unfortunately, other supported recommendations were briefly actioned and highlighted staffing issues for regional locations. The redeployment matrix for VSOs received mixed feedback regarding its effectiveness, and the second Psychological Health Service position, which was filled in December 2023, was again vacant at the time of our recent March 2024 liaison visit.

Page last updated: March 28, 2024
152: Inspection of Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison