Key Findings:

  • The contractual framework for the delivery of prison services at Acacia is strong, and includes performance measures and performance linked fees.
  • One of the original goals in establishing a private prison was to drive innovation. There was no evidence that the Department of Corrective Services had effective processes for identifying such initiatives, or for sharing them through the system.
  • Problems arose from the maintenance contract because it sits separately from the prison services contract. The maintenance contract was also originally based on unrealistic costings and is therefore insufficiently funded.
  • Serco made considerable efforts to increase communication between management and staff and the result has been a dramatic improvement in the relationship between management and staff at Acacia.
  • Prisoners were treated with dignity and respect at Acacia. There was no evidence of systemic racism or discrimination by staff amongst groups or individual prisoners. There was a pro-social culture at Acacia and interaction between staff and prisoners was encouraged.
  • Serco reactivated Acacia’s Indigenous Advisory Board and created an Indigenous Activities Coordinator position. Despite these positive steps towards embracing the Aboriginal culture, it seemed that there was still room to develop and expand membership of the Indigenous Advisory Board.
  • While the standard of prisoner accommodation was very good, the extent of double-bunking had increased, facilitating prisoner’s loss of privacy and decency concerns.
  • Acacia excelled in the area of case management due to the quality of engagement between case management officers and prisoners.
  • Serco had proposed to deliver two new Offender Programs, but they were not supported by the Department.
  • Too many minimum security prisoners were being accommodated at medium security rated Acacia. This prevented their access to the services designed to increase their chances of successful re-entry. There was no work release, external work, community programs or employment programs offered to minimum security prisoners.
  • The increase of the prison population meant that there were long waiting lists for education.
  • Prisoner employment is a significant challenge at Acacia. Only 23 per cent of the prison population was employed with many under-employed as unit workers.
Page last updated: May 21, 2014
71: Report of an announced inspection of Acacia Prison