• Boronia provides a safe, secure, calm and positive environment for the women who are held there.

• There have been no major incidents since commissioning and it has a positive community profile. This is a result of good planning and they are a credit to the foresight and actions of management and staff.

• However, despite a number of previous recommendations Boronia still does not reach a representative cross-section of female prisoners and the opportunities for community outreach activities have not yet been maximised.

• Boronia has been relatively immune from the pressures of overcrowding that beset Western Australia’s prison system. As numbers have risen, extra beds have been installed so that it can now accommodate 82 women. Nonetheless Boronia has not been affected by increased numbers to anything like the same extent as other relevant facilities, Bandyup in particular.

• There has been a continuous decline in the number of Aboriginal women at Boronia. At the time of the inspection, and despite the fact that Boronia’s numbers had increased from 72 to 80, only nine Aboriginal women were housed. This was well under half the number found in 2009. Throughout 2011 the average was less than 14 and at times there were only five.

• The design and calm ambience of Boronia is inherently more therapeutic but women are refused transfer to Boronia on mental health grounds if they are clinically unstable or if their risk is considered too great. This policy position is sound but in our view, there are opportunities for it to be applied more flexibly.

• Boronia’s philosophy emphasises personal responsibility and empowerment. There are many areas where this is evident in the Centre’s operations, but we have concluded that this focus can be further enhanced without risk to residents, staff or the public and that there are some situations where the Centre has adopted practices which are intended to be protective but can actually be disempowering.

Page last updated: February 25, 2014
79: Report of an Announced Inspection of Boronia Pre-release Centre for Women