Areas of improvement included:

  • Staffing levels generally were much improved over those encountered in 2006.
  • DECCA had progressed greatly since 2008. The Department had invested in cleaning up asbestos at the site and had provided limited recurrent resources. A number of partners, including major mining companies, had also made significant contributions. As a result, the program had become a nationally recognised showpiece for industrial training in prisons. It also provided a pathway for a number of prisoners to enter employment on release.
  • Re-entry services have been significantly enhanced by the addition of an Employment Coordinator and a Transitional Manager. This investment has helped build links with local employers and linked a number of prisoners with actual employment opportunities.
  • The delivery of offender rehabilitation programs, as at most prisons, has improved a great deal since the 2006 inspection. Program delivery has been more reliable and more suitable programs are being provided.
  • Prisoners have also benefited from a range of less formal programs and information sessions to help prepare them for life in the community, in areas such as relationships, health, driver training and accessing services in the community.

Areas of concern that require attention included:

  • Much of the physical infrastructure is nearing the end of its life cycle. The condition of the prison, its location, and expansion possibilities require further exploration in light of a custodial plan for the Pilbara region as a whole.
  • Irrespective of longer term plans, there are major infrastructure deficits that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. They include serious wear and tear, climatic control issues, bunk beds and workshops.
  • Relationships and communication were a serious issue at all levels of the prison (within management, between management and staff and between different staff members).
  • Staff/prisoner relationships were found to be very mixed. Some examples of good practice were found, but a number of staff appeared rather disengaged. Prisoners also regarded the behaviour of some staff as culturally insensitive (and therefore racist).
  • Key positions in prison services, including the Aboriginal Visitors Scheme, the Women’s Support Officer and the Prison Support Officer, had been absent for extended periods.
    There have been some improvements to the women’s section but these were not fully functional during the inspection. Even with these improvements, the environment is claustrophobic and limited.
  • There were many good aspects to health services and this provides a good base for the Department to develop more culturally appropriate health services for its largely Aboriginal, largely Pilbara prisoners.
  • While DECCA has proved itself as a provider of industrial training for a proportion of the Roebourne Prison population, the majority of prisoners were unable to access this program and have little or no access to substantive industrial or vocational training within the prison.


Page last updated: April 23, 2014
70: Report of an Announced Inspection of Roebourne Regional Prison