Boronia Pre-Release Centre for Women opened in May 2004, introducing a unique and contemporary prison management style and philosophy, based on a women-centred approach. Boronia is the result of a project begun in 2001 to address the limitations of the then existing facilities and services for female prisoners in Western Australia. Its planning and development included extensive research of literature, best practice approaches and preferred models of service delivery.
In 2006, the first inspection of Boronia found that it had incorporated many positive practices into its operations, including its physical infrastructure, arrangements for mothers and children, available health services, and the quality and profile of its staff. Areas for improvement included Boronia’s under-utilisation (it was well under capacity at the time), the lack of systematic data to enable a robust evaluation of the facility’s new approach on reoffending rates, and the unsatisfactory development of the (then) Section 94 work program.
When it was next inspected in 2009, positive findings included the clarity of Boronia’s role in the wider prison estate, its relations with the community, immunity from over-crowding and positive staff-resident and staff-management relationships. Nonetheless, the Inspector was concerned that Boronia was looking more and more like a ‘complete departure from standard prison design and associated services’, rather than a model that would be rolled out more widely.
The 2009 report concluded that the Department was perfectly positioned to forge ahead with further innovations in corrections for women. The report raised a number of areas in which this could occur, including:
• greater access by Aboriginal women and the development of Aboriginal-focused services;
• accommodation and programs;
• the provision of family violence and related treatment programs;
• the delivery of client-focused health care; and
• the involvement of residents in a wider range of community-based education, work and leisure activities.
This Report details the findings of the third inspection of Boronia. Given the conclusions of past inspections and impressions from liaison visits, particular attention was paid to:
• the numbers of Aboriginal women accessing Boronia, and
• the range of community-based education, work, health and recreation activities available to its residents.