Casuarina continued to suffer from crowding, excessive double bunking, underemployment, unemployment, insufficient infrastructure and services, and inadequate custodial staffing. Too many out of country Aboriginal men were being held there without sufficient support.

Prison management and staff had competently managed the prison’s crowded environment. Casuarina housed a complex mix of prisoners but appeared both secure and relatively settled, despite a somewhat unstable management team.

The building of two new units at the maximum security prison did not represent a good investment in the current and projected future needs of the prison estate. Projections show an overwhelming need for medium security beds, particularly in the regions, as opposed to the metropolitan area. Too many Aboriginal prisoners from remote and regional areas were being held out of country at Casuarina. Despite the provision of the new West Kimberly Regional Prison, the Department had not made plans to sufficiently alleviate this problem.

The Department was found to have failed to provide the infrastructure, staffing, and service needs of the high population. Key prison infrastructure had not been developed since the prison’s commissioning in 1991. The kitchen, infirmary, and industries workshops all needed redevelopment. The Department had also failed to plan for the infrastructure, staffing, and service needs of the potential increased prisoner population of 256 prisoners associated with the planned new units.

Inadequate infrastructure in industries contributed to excessive underemployment and unemployment. While education services had provided greater access to more students, resourcing for health services was inadequate.

Casuarina was found to be increasingly providing specialized management of various prisoner groups, including infirm and aged prisoners, and prisoners with mental health needs. Opportunities for enhanced facilities included an infirmary for sick prisoners; a mental health unit managed by dedicated mental health clinical staff; an outpatients clinic; and a geriatric and long-term care unit.

Page last updated: April 4, 2014
68: Report of an announced inspection of Casuarina Prison