Previous inspections of Greenough Regional Prison have found it to be a well managed facility, with positive relations within the management team, committed staff, and good staff-prisoner relationships. The prison was seen to provide a safe and constructive environment, with good levels of engagement from local community and Aboriginal organisations.
Areas identified for improvement have included the disadvantaged position of Greenough’s female prisoners, inconsistent health service provision, and an almost complete lack of offender treatment programs. As a prison with a consistently high population of Aboriginal prisoners, Greenough has also been found to lack an adequate proportion of Aboriginal staff, a dedicated Aboriginal Visitor Scheme, and frequently housed far too many out-of-country Aboriginal prisoners.
Since the 2009 inspection, the three most senior members of the management team at Greenough have departed, and at the time of the 2012 inspection, the positions were filled on an acting basis.
Developments within the wider prison system since 2009 have had implications for Greenough. The prison had previously been a hub for prisoner transport, providing a stop-off point for the long road journey between the northern prisons (Broome and Roebourne) and Perth. This meant that Greenough had a constantly fluctuating population, at times experiencing severe overcrowding in certain parts of the prison. Since the Department has moved from road to air transport however, Greenough’s role as a transport hub is largely gone.
At the time of the inspection there were two significant projects underway. Firstly, the entire perimeter fence is being replaced due to its poor condition. This will include the removal of razor wire around the minimum security unit. Secondly, Greenough was preparing for the conversion of a 69 bed male unit into a precinct for female prisoners, enabling women to be transferred from the chronically overcrowded Bandyup Women’s Prison.
Upon announcing the inspection of Greenough Regional Prison, the Office indicated that the inspection will give particular attention to:
- the proposed increase in women prisoner numbers and associated arrangements such as services available to women prisoners, supporting infrastructure in place and any specific staff training;
- delivery of services appropriate to the Aboriginal prisoner population;
- health service delivery and especially psychiatric, psychological and other counselling support for both male and female prisoners; and
- the ageing infrastructure and maintenance needs of the prison.