Image of entry path leading to reception at Casuarina Prison


The Special Handling Unit (SHU) is a 17-cell secure unit at Casuarina Prison that has been declared by the Commissioner of Corrective Services to be used for the ‘confinement of prisoners who pose a major threat to the prison system’. The unit is separated into two secure wings, with a central control office. Each wing …

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Image of gym equipment in the SHU courtyard at Casuarina Prison

Key findings

Functionality of the SHU hampered by a complex cohort The SHU has a clear mandate as an intensive supervision unit for prisoners assessed to be a major threat. To mitigate the risks presented by these prisoners, the unit has become highly controlled and restrictive. Long-term placements within the SHU are also becoming more common as …

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Image of the SHU courtyard at Casuarina Prison


The review found the operation and management of the SHU to be consistent with the unit’s intent and purpose. However, better access to meaningful activities and interventions to help address offending behaviours would assist some prisoners progress back into mainstream prison life more quickly. For others the pathway back into general living units is less …

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Image of the day room in the SHU at Casuarina


Recommendation 1 Develop behavioural benchmarks that are measurable and achievable with progress considered and documented by the Committee during monthly meetings. Recommendation 2 Explore targeted behaviour management interventions that could be introduced in the SHU to assist prisoners to address their behaviour. Recommendation 3 Ensure forced removal of clothing practices are consistent with COPP 11.3 – …

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