• The Yeeda precinct represents a great improvement on the facilities available to young female detainees at Rangeview. The inclusion of dedicated education and program facilities in particular is commendable. The entire precinct was intended to be purely the domain of the female detainees and the precinct’s selected staff. However, during the inspection a degree of clawback was observed which indicated that the reality of life in Yeeda is not that which was envisaged by its planners.
  • Provision of a dedicated case for the girls was a significant improvement. However as the case management mandate only applies to sentenced detainees comparatively few have access. A degree of case management was intended to be made available for long term remandees, but most female remandees are only in detention for a short period. Furthermore the availability of case management to long term remandees was dependent on staffing levels.
  • Engagement of a full time mental health nurse at the Centre has resulted in improved care for the girls, but also all detainees accommodated at Banksia.
  • Provision of dedicated observation cells within the unit. The creation of the block was intended to remove any need to transfer the girls across the facility, and allow them to continue to have contact with familiar Youth Custodial Officers. However, at the time of the inspection the cells were often not being used when required due to staff shortages so the girls were being transferred to the centralised observation unit.
  • Broaden the range of recreation options for girls both within the unit and across the site. The layout of the Yeeda precinct was not conducive to rigorous outdoor recreation options. Since arriving at Banksia Hill, the female detainees had no access to the Centre’s oval or main library, and had not been permitted access to the gymnasium for two months. This meant that recreation activities had been severely curtailed since moving from Rangeview, where they had access to the oval, full size basketball courts, in-ground trampolines and the gymnasium.
  • There was an identified need to broaden the range of life skilling, employment, training and educational opportunities.
  • Provide better integration of the services provided to the girls. Throughout the Yeeda inspection, the Office heard from various areas of service delivery about the perceived lack of an interdisciplinary approach to detainee management and welfare.
  • Although the number and variety of programs had increased substantially, a number of the programs consisted of only one to two sessions, others lacked structure and/or evidence based or evaluated therapeutic content. Nonetheless, the programs provided a positive addition to the range of services available, and in particular provided much needed links to community support upon release.
  • There is great stress on the female custodial estate in WA and the needs of many are not being met, including girls and young women who share many common challenges and histories that have led to their offending behaviour. Consideration should therefore be given to whether some young adult females could be safely and sensibly placed at the Yeeda Unit to meet their shared and common rehabilitation needs.
Page last updated: April 16, 2014

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