- The state’s economic environment had changed and as a result the new management team had made the unpopular decision to restrict overtime. The decision initially impacted negatively on staff and management relationships, but by the time of the inspection, staff were beginning to understand that budgetary restrictions were beyond the control of the prison management.
- The rollover effect of restricting overtime and closing down areas of the prison meant sending more prisoners back to their units with little or nothing to do. The inspection team observed too many prisoners sitting idly around in the units. Prisoners wanted more work and education opportunities.
- Education was closed for periods throughout the year and courses were cut, restricting learning for prisoners who genuinely wanted to learn.
- The prison’s emphasis on pro-social prisoner and staff relationships had started to wane with two major security incidents occurring in the lead-up to the inspection. It is possible that these incidents could have been prevented or reduced in scope if staff and prisoner relations were stronger.
- The changing prisoner demographic had influenced the general temperature of the prison. Some staff felt that the demographic change meant that the ‘Albany Way’ philosophy was no longer sustainable.
- Services for Aboriginal prisoners had deteriorated since the last inspection. While the Aboriginal Visitor Service, the Prisoner Support Officer, and the Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer were highly respected and visible throughout the prison, there was no overall strategy specifically targeting the needs of Aboriginal prisoners.
Overall, Albany is still a good prison. The prison still felt calmer than the metropolitan prisons, both prisoners and staff felt reasonably safe, and staff were coming to terms with the changes that had impacted over the last few years.