Casuarina had previously been found to be a well-managed prison suffering from a fast-growing population, increased overcrowding, excessive double bunking, underemployment, unemployment, ailing infrastructure and services, and inadequate custodial staffing.
In the period between 2007 and 2010, the prison had been managed safely and without the occurrence of any major incidents, despite the population pressures. However, Casuarina’s management had become unstable and fractured. The prison also faced the challenge of the planned building of two new accommodation units, designed for up to 256 new prisoners.
In this period, the number and proportion of maximum security prisoners in the state had decreased, and Casuarina’s prison population included more medium and minimum security prisoners. This mix of prisoner security levels increased the complexity of Casuarina’s roles and performance.
This inspection therefore focused on the extent to which overcrowding was impacting upon the prison’s operations, including its statewide services, and performance. It also examined the prison’s increasingly complex roles.
Key areas of inspection included:
- The Role of Casuarina Prison in the Western Australian Prison system, given the reduction in numbers of maximum security prisoners.
- Assessing whether Casuarina had the resources, services and infrastructure needed to support its own prisoner population as well as those services it provides for the whole system, such infirmary and the dedicated security and prisoner management units. Were there plans to introduce any other such specialised services to the prison, such as a dedicated mental health or geriatric care unit?
- How had the needs of prisoners changed in terms of age and disability, and had these been taken into account with the planning, policy and practice at Casuarina?
- With the large number of minimum security prisoners and prisoners being released directly from the prison, how had Casuarina contributed to preparing those prisoners for release.