• Contemporary detention centres developed around ‘campus style’ concepts which, by their very nature, introduce environmental factors which can pose security risks. For example:
    • preference for single level domestic scale buildings
    • introduction of accessible, cultivated and naturally landscaped terrain
    • greater distances for movement of people and services
    • opportunities for visitors including community groups to access parts of the secure precinct.
  • The ‘campus style’ original design and early construction of Banksia Hill seems to adequately reflect the requirements articulated in the 1995 Operating Brief and Functional Brief which preceded the design work, at the end of the 1990’s. In hindsight, there are things which could have been better considered in these documents to guide the original project and to set parameters for the expanded accommodation, including:
    • more robustness to the cells, in particular to the fittings, windows, observation and ventilation panels, and the ceilings.
    • external protection to cell windows.
    • avoiding circumstances where roof edges are adjacent to low height walls, balustrades and fences.
  • The condition and quality of the physical environment in the early days of Banksia Hill’s operation, compares favourably with a majority of contemporary centres in the Eastern States, which were visited during the Inquiry.
  • Changes occurred to the condition and character of the physical infrastructure and environment during the years leading up to the riot, with most retrofitting and remedial work carried out in response to specific incidents and perceived concerns.
  • The quality of the retrofitting and remedial work was diminished by a lack of input from a comprehensive stakeholder group working under guidance of a well‐constructed brief. There were opportunities for the Department to engage with experts and this may have improved security through better design and provide better outcomes for detainees and staff.
  • During the riot extensive damage was caused to parts of the buildings, primarily to the cells and also to some equipment and personal property. A number of implements, including building rubble, were used by the detainees to cause damage to the building.
  • After the riot on 20 January 2013, the Department quickly resolved to install additional security around cell windows. Following the design and fabrication of prototype grilles in the week following the riot, they were installed and tested on 1 February 2013. On 6 February 2013, the Deputy Commissioner Community and Youth Justice formally endorsed the decision to install additional grilles to all cell windows and officer stations at Banksia. While the design specifications were referred to the Department’s State Security Directorate there is no evidence of any consideration of alternative designs that may have avoided or limited the installation of grilles. Alternatives may arguably have been more cost effective and would have lessened the hardening effect on the physical environment for detainees.
  • The Inquiry found there was no process in place to periodically test physical infrastructure using a consistent methodology. This would have identified new physical infrastructure requirements as a result of changes in daily activities at Banksia Hill or lessons learnt from incidents. The testing regime was characterised by a methodology of ‘testing to destruction’ which was not always necessary and ignores the interaction of physical security with process and dynamic security.
Page last updated: April 4, 2014

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