Tables 1 and 2 provide a snapshot of the proportion of prisoners at each prison by their security ratings at the start and end of the time period sampled. Significantly more minimum security prisoners are now being held in maximum and medium security facilities.
Table1: Security Classification Proportions per Facility (March 2009)
Table 2: Security Classification Proportions per Facility (June 2012)
It is particularly concerning that two of the three maximum security male facilities more than doubled their minimum security population over the three years. At Casuarina the numbers increased from 6.0 per cent to 12.7 per cent and at Albany from 8.0 per cent to 16.6%. More positively, Hakea nearly halved the percentage of minimum security prisoners over the time period (9.1% – 4.7%). However, the drop at Hakea was more than outweighed by a sharp increase in the number of minimum security men at Acacia medium security prison.
On a more positive note, the multi-security facilities generally decreased their population of maximum security prisoners. Bunbury and Greenough also decreased the proportion of minimum security prisoners held in higher security units, with an increased proportion now being housed in their specialist minimum security units.
The extent of detention in over-secure facilities is even more marked in the female estate. In 2009, Bandyup held around the same number of maximum as minimum security prisoners. However, in 2012, it held 3.5 times more minimum security women than maximum security.
This means that almost one in four women held at Bandyup is now rated as minimum security, a figure far in excess of any of the male prisons. Indeed, their numbers at Bandyup are equivalent to the total design capacity of Boronia, the state’s only dedicated female minimum security facility. However, because Bandyup is a maximum security facility, none of these prisoners can access a proper minimum security regime inside the prison or any external section 95 activities.
Further analysis showed that the proportion of Aboriginal people being held in over-secure facilities has declined. However, this should not be seen as a positive finding but as a reflection of the drop in the proportion of Aboriginal prisoners rated minimum security.