One of the most important ways to reduce reoffending is to provide prisoners with an environment which is a close to ‘normal’ as possible. This is balanced against the risk to the community in providing more relaxed security. As expected, prisoners whose environment was closer to normal rated their quality of life higher. Those in minimum security facilities were more satisfied with services and perceived their relationships with staff to be better.

Aboriginal prisoners were far less likely to believe that staff were fair and respectful to prisoners than non-Aboriginal respondents. Most Aboriginal people felt that staff neither respected nor understood their culture.

Satisfaction with services varied, depending on the service, the security level of the facility and age of the respondents. However, over half the respondents across the state respondents were dissatisfied with food quality. More than one in five also stated they were unhappy with food quantity, access to recreation, and clothing.

Prisoners generally reported being engaged in some form of activity during the day, but the time spent on these activities was variable. Most people who engaged in education and external activities believed it would help in the future, while those involved in more mundane activities, such as unit maintenance did not think the work would be helpful. This is despite one in five prisoners listing unit maintenance as their main activity.

Most prisoners felt safe despite the high numbers of staff perceiving assault, particularly prisoner on prisoner assault to be occurring. Almost all staff indicated they felt mostly or always safe in their work environment.

Almost three quarters of staff felt there was a good relationships between staff and prisoners with a further quarter believing the relationship to be mixed. Very few thought it was poor. Four in five staff agreed with the statement that prisoners responded to decent treatment.

Prison officers generally believed prison conditions to be adequate and prison services to be adequate, with the exception of health services and meaningful employment.

Page last updated: October 3, 2014
Prisoner and staff perceptions of WA custodial facilities from 2010-2012