The inspection found that despite significant infrastructure and resource constraints Hakea is meeting satisfactory standards in most core areas, including:

  • Reception, placement, induction and orientation
  • Identifying and managing prisoners who are at risk of self-harm
  • Basic accommodation, food and care
  • General health services
  • Facilitating court appearances in person or by video
  • Hosting both social and official visits
  • Assessment and sentence management
  • Security systems and infrastructure
  • Aspects of welfare support, intervention and re-entry services

Much of the facility is ageing. Units also have to accommodate many more people than originally designed for through the widespread installation of double bunks. Some areas are no longer fit for purpose:

  • Unit 1, the management unit, performs a number of conflicting roles in conditions which are inadequate for staff and prisoners alike and needs to be replaced.
  • Unit 7, where male metropolitan prisoners usually spend their first few nights in prison, is claustrophobic, overcrowded and run down and, despite the efforts of many staff, does not provide an appropriately supportive ‘first night’ environment.
  • Video-link, where staff do a remarkable job, in a cramped facility with inadequate holding areas and insufficient audio-visual rooms.

The following deficiencies or opportunities for improvement were identified:

  • With almost a quarter of the population under 25 years of age, their management is an area which would benefit from a stronger strategic focus.
  • With almost 10% of prisoners from diverse nationalities, it is imperative that standard policies and procedures for managing foreign national prisoners are finalised.
  • Hakea has not always received the necessary warrants or paperwork in a timely manner which impacts releases directly from court.
  • The selection of paper-based legal resources in the Hakea library is very poor and while prisoners can access Timebase, more is needed.
  • The Department’s philosophies with respect to remand prisoners are neither well-articulated nor well-developed.
  • Overtime levels were high and there were deficiencies in absence management and recruitment.
  • Hakea’s key planning documents were mostly outdated and insufficiently attentive to the needs of specific prisoner groups. There have been missed opportunities for more strategic planning, both at Hakea and centrally within DCS.
  • There was no clear planning for the best use of the new units added to Hakea for any specific design needs or additional infrastructure for the target population.
  • The removal of access to computers for prisoners is adverse to their legal, education and reintegration rights and needs.
  • Inability of staff to properly monitor x-ray screens in the gate, less than rigorous bag searching and a need to extend checks and searches of staff and contractors.
  • Compromised dynamic security due to over-confinement of staff to offices and poor communication with prisoners by some.
  • A failure to increase health staff resources in line with the prisoner population. Having only a single nurse on night shift was a particular risk.
  • Hakea had some good interventions for prisoner with addictions issues, but demand significantly outstripped supply.
  • Notwithstanding a smoking reduction policy, there were no QUIT group programs, nor were nicotine patches provided, except as full cost sale items.
  • The food safety program had not been implemented in units which also suffered from pest and vermin infestation.
  • Further efforts were needed to minimise the spread of blood-borne viruses and the risks of infectious disease transmission.
  • Skype facilities were not being used to full effect for virtual social visits.
  • Two ovals were in poor condition, a the third was not yet commissioned, the gym was insufficient for the population and recreation staffing had reduced.
  • Aspects of screening, care and management of prisoners with mental health issues need review, the prison lacks a step-down placement option for those leaving Crisis Care and the Prison Counselling Service was isolated.
  • There are insufficient patient beds in WA for prisoners with acute mental health issues.
  • A significant number of Aboriginal prisoners come from remote and regional areas of the state but these were not always identified or properly treated as such.
  • Prison Aboriginal Services Committee was no longer functional and aspects of service provision to Aboriginal prisoners were lacking.
  • Some areas of the prison failed to utilise professional and confidential means to communicate with non-English speaking prisoners.
  • Discrimination was being exercised against Indonesian prisoners convicted of ‘people smuggling’ who were prevented from sending gratuities to their needy families at home.
  • Two significant employment areas of the prison, concrete products and the market garden, had recently ceased operations worsening the severe unemployment and underemployment problem in the prison.
  • The high demand for services from the Transitional Manager questions the adequacy of resourcing.

There was also found to be a considerable degree of division between staff and management as well as within the staffing group. Senior management were insufficiently visible in the prison. The prison’s overarching philosophy, vision, roles, culture and values were insufficiently articulated and shared by all staff.

Page last updated: April 4, 2014
81: Report of an Announced Inspection of Hakea Prison