The Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services has consistently praised Albany Regional Prison for its high performance, often referring to it as one of the state’s best performing prisons. It’s strong performance was largely driven by ‘the Albany Way’, principles described by this Office as:
- A workforce culture that shared positive values;
- A pragmatic staff with a ‘can do’ attitude;
- An experienced management team who successfully balanced head office demands with local operations;
- A pro-social staff/prisoner culture;
- Innovative technology, programs, and communication strategies; and
- A prison with strong links to the community.
Since the 2011 inspection, Albany had experienced a leadership change. This Office was interested to know what impact the new management team had on prison operations, if ‘the Albany Way’ philosophy would carry on and if the prison would perform at similar high standards experienced in past inspections.
In 2011, Albany also hosted a significant number of minimum-security Indonesian nationals. More than 50 were being held at Albany, with the majority having been charged with ‘people smuggling offences’. As a result, many of the recommendations of that inspection report were targeted at their particular situation. By 2015 however, Albany had only one Indonesian prisoner and the prison had returned to its intended role of providing maximum-security overflow and an alternative management option for the metropolitan prisons. This Office was interested how this change in prisoner demographic impacted on operations of the prison.
With lower numbers of minimum-security prisoners at Albany, external activities had ceased. This created an additional challenge for Albany as it was forced to provide more work and/or education opportunities within the perimeter. The Office was interested in how Albany was providing a structured day or meaningful activity for prisoners.