Although there is still work to be done, Greenough now offers an improved environment, culture and services to its female prisoners. This is a credit to the prison management and staff, especially given the very limited additional resources that were made available to the prison.

Unit Four and its immediate surrounds are now known as the ‘Women’s Precinct,’ however this term should not obscure the fact that the area is not truly separate from the rest of the prison. It cannot function independently because many core services are centrally located and delivered. Despite the improvements the Women’s Precinct offers, it is still a female island in a male prison.

Ultimately, however, the Greenough women’s unit is a Band-Aid in the wrong place: it is too small to meet demand, too far from home for the prisoners, and still a female island in a male domain. Thus, whilst the prison has improved services to women, it would be the wrong choice for any major further expansion of the female prison estate. Fortunately, the Department accepts this view. However, because of the lack of investment in accommodation for female prisoners over the past six years, it now faces some extremely difficult decisions. Unless the Department can identify some other solution that can be actioned quickly, it will need to allocate other parts of the male system for women.

Page last updated: October 3, 2014
91: Female Prisons in Western Australia and the Greenough Women’s Precinct