With a particular focus on women prisoners, and without compromising public safety, the Government and the Department should examine efficiencies and introduce initiatives to reduce the number of prisoners. Options include improved bail co-ordination/support, better program delivery, and wider use of electronic monitoring/GPS tracking.
The Department should:
(a) Identify and address key areas of need in the planning for new and additional accommodation for women. In particular, measures should be taken to improve mental health services, to meet the needs of young women, to reduce the number of minimum-security women being held in higher security facilities, and to develop relevant social, life and employment skills.
(b) Set defined targets and measurable outcomes in each area of need and measure performance.
In finalising its restructure, the Department should establish appropriate high level positions with responsibility for developing strategic policies for women and girls in custody and community justice services, setting targets, evaluating and improving outcomes, and a mandate to operationalise policies.
The Department should not:
(a) Significantly expand the use of Greenough Regional Prison for women; or
(b) Use units at male prisons such as Hakea or Acacia for women as they are not sufficiently autonomous or segregated.
The Department should:
(a) Re-open the Roebourne Regional Prison women’s unit;
(b) Examine options for maximising Boronia’s potential, including increasing the number of women accommodated, criteria for transfer to the prison and building additional accommodation;
(c) Make use of existing housing assets as transitional accommodation;
(d) Take account of the discussion in this report when examining the option of turning either the Bunbury Pre-release Unit or Wandoo over to women.
The Department give a high priority to implementing plans to ensure there is adequate women centred custodial infrastructure. The planning should include consideration of the purposes of the wider prison estate, including the best use of all custodial facilities, including Banksia Hill Detention Centre.
Whenever the Department transfers female prisoners to prisons outside their home location due to population pressures, it should prioritise the needs and obligations of women as mothers, grandmothers and elders in assessing their appropriateness for transfer.
The Department should enact consistent operational policies and procedures for the management of prisoners across different prisons. Exceptions should be allowed only where the individual prison makes a specific and compelling case.
(a) The Department develop a funding model for all prisons that accommodates women which recognises the particular needs of women’s custodial management and enables greater equity of service provision.
(b) Provide Greenough Prison with additional resources to deliver female specific services more comparable to those at facilities accommodating a similar number of women.
Subject to individual risk assessments and appropriate supervision, male and female prisoners at all of the state’s mixed gender prisons should be allowed regular, voluntary, meaningful and respectful interaction with each other.
Greenough Regional Prison be provided with the necessary infrastructure and human resources to allow health services to be provided to women within the women’s unit or in a confidential area that does not require transit through the male zones of the prison.
Increase the level of mental health and counselling services available for women (and consequentially also for men) at Greenough Regional Prison, including
(i) additional psychiatric services;
(ii) an additional Prisoner Counselling Service team member; and
(iii) reinvigorated links with Chrysalis Support Services or other relevant service providers.
(a) The Department immediately introduce Skype (or other on-line technologies) at Greenough Regional Prison and at Bandyup Women’s Prison for social and official visits; and
(b) By the end of June 2015, the Department ensure that Skype or other online technologies are fully operational at all the state’s prisons.
Prisoners who are transferred from their local area prison due to overcrowding should be entitled to receive more generous remote telephone allowances to facilitate ongoing contact with children, family and friends.
(a) Greenough should increase the number of women prisoners trained and appointed to be on the peer support team; and
(b) The prison should consider establishing a female-only peer support team in addition to the whole of prison team.
(a) The Department should ensure that Aboriginal Visitor scheme services or similar services, are available at all its prisons.
(b) At prisons such as Greenough, where there has been a chronic problem in providing AVS services, consideration be given to alternative measures. These include the option of funding the prison to source and manage services from local agencies or service providers.
Greenough should be supported to operate a canteen within the women’s precinct which is run for and by female prisoners, and is linked directly to the development of employment skills.
The Department develop and deliver more programs specifically for women to address issues such as violence, sexual abuse and substance abuse. It should include programs that are culturally relevant to Aboriginal women from different communities across the state.
The Department should:
(a) Evaluate the Integrated Offender Management Committee (IOMC) process at Greenough;
(b) If the IOMC process is successful, introduce this process across the women’s estate; and
(c) Examine the suitability of rolling out a similar process for male prisoners.
DCS Responses to Recommendations