Karnet Prison Farm is a minimum security facility for adult males and its primary purpose is to prepare prisoners for release into the community. Karnet’s other significant role is in food production for the wider prison system.
The previous inspection in 2007 found Karnet to be performing at a high standard. The 2010 inspection found that while Karnet had generally maintained a good standard of service delivery, it was facing a number of challenges that meant its performance was not as strong as it had been.
This inspection took place in the context of severe overcrowding within the Western Australian prison system, and Karnet was acommodating a total of 238 prisoners – 64 prisoners more than it was designed to hold. The inspection therefore focused on the extent to which this overcrowding had affected the operation of the prison. In this context, we also looked at the impact of ageing and inadequate infrastructure on the performance of the prison.
Adding to this pressure was the planned addition of another 120 beds by the end of 2010, which would bring the total capacity of Karnet to more than 320 prisoners. This presented the prison with both challenges and opportunities. The main themes of the fourth inspection of Karnet therefore included:
- The role of Karnet in the Western Australian prison system – How does Karnet fit into the Department’s broader strategic objectives, and how are the various roles of Karnet reflected in strategic planning related to the prison?
- Proposed capacity increase to 320 prisoners or more – What are the accommodation and operational plans for the additional prisoners, and what level of investment is required to facilitate a successful capacity increase?
- Prisoner population profile – Will the population profile change as a result of the capacity increase, and will this impact the prison’s ability to manage and deliver services to vulnerable groups of prisoners?
- Preparation for release – To what extent do prison services contribute to preparing prisoners for release into the community, and how will the proposed capacity increase affect the prison’s ability to fulfil this role in the future?