This inspection found that there has been positive progress in some areas, most notably with respect to custodial staff numbers and external training opportunities for prisoners. In this sense the prison is better placed than before. However, it still suffers from its ailing and outdated infrastructure, a lack of investment, and a lack of clear strategic direction for the future.
Although custodial staffing levels have improved, too many key prisoner service positions have simply not been functioning for long periods. The inspection also found that urgent action was required to improve relationships, morale and consistency across both staff and management.
At the strategic level, it is very disappointing there is still no Custodial Plan for the delivery of custodial services in the Pilbara region, including objectives, targets and timeframes. This Report suggests a number of short and longer term options. Consistent with previous reports, it argues that the current Roebourne prison should be replaced with a larger, modern, fit-for-purpose facility. It also argues that, as part of planning for the Pilbara, consideration should be given to establishing a new facility in the Port Hedland area to better service the main regional court, the local community and prisoners from that area.
Even if a new prison is being considered for some future date, substantial renovation and upgrading of the existing prison is required to meet the standards of decency expected of modern prisons and to promote better correctional outcomes. Key areas include a more proactive preventative maintenance program, a bed replacement program, the installation of air-conditioning and improved facilities for education and skills training within the prison.
The opportunities for employment and training outside the prison should be further enhanced through the construction of a minimum security section outside the main prison and expanding the programs currently provided through the DECCA training facility. The removal of the store from inside the prison would allow an expansion of the workshops to increase training opportunities within the prison for those prisoners who are not rated minimum security.