Bandyup Women’s Prison is the only female prison in Western Australia that caters for all security classifications. It acts as a receival, remand, assessment, and sentenced prisoner facility. As the only maximum security prison for women in the state, Bandyup accommodates prisoners from all the regions assessed as maximum security. The prison also accommodates a significant number of minimum security prisoners.
The period prior to this inspection was one of some instability and pressure for the prison. In January 2010 the Department had abolished the position of Director of Women’s Corrective Services, which coincided with unprecedented prisoner population levels at Bandyup, as well as the Superintendent position at the prison being filled by a succession of ‘actors’.
Between November 2008 and April 2009, the population of Bandyup had been sitting at its operational capacity of 188. But from April to August 2010 the population rose to 250 before peaking at 269 at which point 90 women were sleeping on floors.
At this inspection, therefore, the Office needed to understand the extent to which strategic direction had been maintained and progress had been made. Furthermore, with the female prisoner population projected to rise even further, an understanding of the Department’s forward planning for women’s custodial management, with regard to Bandyup, Aboriginal women, and the women’s estate as a whole had to be obtained. This inspection therefore sought to understand:
• the extent to which the Department’s strategic direction in terms of implementing a women-centred approach to custodial management had been maintained through its service delivery at Bandyup;
• the Department’s forward planning for women’s custodial management, with regard to Bandyup, Aboriginal women, and the women’s estate as a whole; and
• the services provided to mentally unwell offenders and the extent to which their needs were being met.