Hakea Prison is the primary remand, receival and assessment prison for adult males in Western Australia.
At the time of the 2009 inspection, Hakea was experiencing a ‘bottleneck’ of sentenced prisoners due to a lack of beds at other prisons. At that time, 45 per cent of its population was sentenced, whereas historically it had been between a quarter and a third. The sentenced prisoners were essentially stranded in a prison not resourced to deliver services to them. The overall finding was that ‘despite the intense pressure created by extreme overcrowding, the inspection…found a prison that was coping remarkably well’.
By the time of the 2012 inspection, the ‘bottleneck’ had been eased by the double bunking of units at other prisons and by the opening of some new units. These included two new units at Hakea, Units 11 and 12, each containing 128 beds, one of which had been commissioned at the time of the inspection.
The high prisoner population found in May 2012 was attributable to an increase in remand prisoners.
This inspection examined all Hakea’s core functions, with a particular focus on some specific issues:
- its ability to deliver remand-related services to prisoners and courts in an increasingly technological era;
- the strategic direction of the prison;
- staff / management relations;
- environmental health; and
- the management of specific groups of prisoners, including people with mental health issues, newly received prisoners, people undergoing punishment for breach of prison rules, protection prisoners, Aboriginal people and people from a non-English speaking background.
The on-site phase of this inspection was conducted over two weeks commencing on 18 May 2012. As well as staff from the Inspector’s office, a number of skilled professionals were engaged to add their expertise in mental health, security, education, health, drug and alcohol supports, and environmental health.