• Casuarina was crowded, with excessive double bunking. The prison had insufficient infrastructure and services, and custodial staffing. Prisoners suffered from excessive underemployment and unemployment. Too many out of country Aboriginal men were held, and were not well-supported.
  • Casuarina was accommodating 694 prisoners, with a security profile of: 130 (18.7 per cent) maximum security; 449 medium security (64.6 per cent); and 115 (15.5 per cent) minimum security. This maximum security prison held too many minimum security prisoners, and lacked appropriate facilities and regimes for these.
  • Infrastructure had not kept pace with the high population; for example, the kitchen, infirmary and industries had not been redeveloped since the prison was commissioned in 1991.
  • The safety of Casuarina’s double-bunking practices required evaluation. Commendably, the Department had committed to a full risk assessment of all double-bunk designs across the prison estate and to subsequent modifications to minimise the risk of injuries.
  • The inadequate infrastructure in industries limited the provision of employment and training. As a result, almost a quarter of prisoners had no structured daytime activity, and half of those who had a job were under-employed. Education services had, however, provided greater access to more students, despite lagging infrastructure.
  • Health services staff were committed and professional. Resourcing for health services was inadequate and not sustainable. The lack of resourcing impacted on the areas of clinical assessment and care planning, staff training, information management, access to services, mental health, alcohol and substance abuse, Aboriginal health care, dental services, pharmacy, and the infirmary.
  • Excessive numbers of Aboriginal prisoners who were out of country were being accommodated at Casuarina. This prisoner group suffered from:
    • proportionately higher levels of unemployment and under employment;
    • a lack of ongoing cultural awareness training for staff;
    • a familiar diet not being routinely or regularly provided;
    • an Aboriginal Education Worker not being allocated in proportion to the numbers of prisoners;
    • a lack of a suitable cultural space for out of country prisoners; and
    • The Displaced Aboriginal Prisoners (DAP) program having limited coverage and not delivering on stated intentions.
  •  Prisoners from regional areas (predominantly Aboriginal) were found to be particularly disadvantaged in relation to release planning.
Page last updated: April 4, 2014
68: Report of an announced inspection of Casuarina Prison