• Historically, one of the best aspects of Karnet has been its positive atmosphere which aided in the rehabilitation of prisoners and their preparation for release. In 2010 however, the relationship between staff and prisoners was not as strong as it had been in the past.

• Karnet’s employment opportunities provide for skill development and encourage a good work ethic. However this inspection found that it was increasingly common that large numbers of prisoners were regularly unavailable for work. These absences were due to conflicting commitments, such as court appearances, education, medical appointments, and programs.

• The farm at Karnet has always played an important role in contributing produce to the food supply chain for the Western Australian prison system. However, it is difficult to determine what proportion of Karnet’s spending benefits the system as a whole, as opposed to the prison itself, because this is not clearly differentiated in the prison’s budget.

• The visits centre at Karnet provides perhaps the most family-friendly visiting environment of any custodial facility in Western Australia.

• The older accommodation units at the prison have been physically deteriorating for several years. Living conditions for prisoners in these units has grown steadily worse, and the inspection found that Unit 1 in particular did not provide an acceptable standard of accommodation.

• Poor living conditions throughout the prison had been exacerbated by the elevated prisoner numbers. The increase in prisoner population had been achieved entirely through double-bunking, with a high proportion of rooms fitted with bunk beds.

• There had been no expansion or upgrade of staff facilities, despite an increase in officer numbers. Other utilities were under strain and require upgrading prior to the capacity increase.

• Karnet has consistently housed a disproportionately low number of Aboriginal prisoners. At the time of the 2010 inspection, there were only 22 Aboriginal prisoners at Karnet, representing about 8.5 per cent of the population.

Page last updated: January 20, 2014
67: Report of an Announced Inspection of Karnet Prison Farm