• The standards of the court custody cells, staff amenities, passageways, docks and control rooms vary enormously across locations. They range from large, secure centres clean of graffiti to rundown centres in need of replacement or upgrading. Apart from a select few, most sites do not provide adequate break areas or secure places for the custody staff to store their belongings.
  • People in custody were very well looked after by both Departmental and contractor employees with obvious signs of mutual respect generally demonstrated throughout the course of the inspection.
  • The air conditioning in the cells, particularly at some of the Northern sites, was refreshing but if people were wearing summer attire they could end up rather cold and uncomfortable.
  • The Serco Operating Instructions provide limited direction for staff to deal with circumstances of people in their custody self-harming. Most staff rely on their training and instincts to manage such circumstances. Unfortunately, the inconsistency across sites means that the person’s welfare may be entirely dependent on the staff on duty at that particular site. The inspection staff observed one incident of a person in custody self-harm where the action taken by Serco employee was considered substandard and irresponsible.
  • The G4S Operating Procedures at the District Court Building and Central Law Courts were far more detailed concerning the handling of instances of self-harm and all staff were trained appropriately to manage such instances.
  • Most courts run a local Children’s Court on particular days of the week, which sometimes means children are required to be held in the custody centre. While staff undertake juvenile management training as part of their initial training course, most felt that the training was not enough.
  • Both Serco and G4S have introduced staff multi-tasking and multi-skilling at their relevant sites, however some staff are resistant to the change. Both contractors also encourage their staff to undertake individual risk assessments for each person in custody.
  • Transporting people from prisons to metropolitan courts each morning is an extremely challenging task, where the prison, Serco and the courts must work together to ensure the person arrives before their warrant time and with adequate time to see their lawyers before court. The high number of late deliveries to court suggests that the adequacy of current practices need addressing.
  • Adult males who are remanded overnight or who are attending an overnight trial at Bunbury Court can spend the night at Bunbury Regional Prison. Unfortunately women must undertake the drive back to Bandyup Women’s Prison in Perth, because the police do not have the resources to accept them and Bunbury Regional Prison does not have the facilities to accommodate women overnight. This equates to more than four hours of travel each day to attend court, and places unnecessary stress on woman during vulnerable times.
Page last updated: April 22, 2014

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