Casuarina had previously been found to suffer from overcrowding, excessive double bunking, underemployment, unemployment, ailing infrastructure and services, insufficient support for Aboriginal prisoners, and inadequate custodial staffing.
In the period between 2010 and 2013, the prison was found to have improved its prisoner accommodation through two new units, but had not made the needed improvements to its ailing infrastructure. The prison was found to have been managed its population safely, and to have made improvements to its management of problematic prisoners through the addition of a dedicated wing in one of the accommodation units.
However, the prison infirmary struggled to fulfil its role as a statewide facility, as it was consistently full to capacity and unable to meet demand. The prison lacked sufficient space for complex needs prisoners including older prisoners and mentally ill and mentally impaired prisoners. The prison had also closed the accommodation wing dedicated to holding displaced Aboriginal prisoners, thereby depriving this group of their former ability to support each other.
Casuarina was not designed as a reception prison, and not intended to hold substantial numbers of remand detainees. However, in the period leading up to the 2013 inspection the prison had been holding increasing numbers of remand detainees.
This inspection therefore focused on:
- the prison’s journey in the three years following the 2010 inspection;
- the role of the prison in the state prison system;
- support for the prison’s large and diverse prisoner population, including resources, services and infrastructure;
- adequacy of the state facilities, such as the infirmary, the Special Handling Unit (SHU), the Multipurpose Unit (MPU) and the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) wing;
- other specialised care plans, such as a mental health or geriatric care units;
- substantive equality for Aboriginal prisoners;
- substantive equality for aged and disabled prisoners;
- substantive equality for remand prisoners; and
- support for release.