Budget cut for prison work camp
The successful Roebourne prison work camp could lose staff and functionality as a result of reduced funding.
The Department of Corrective Services last week told the prison that while it would continue to cover running costs when Royalties for Regions funding ended on June 30 they would do so at a reduced rate.
The Royalties for Region funding was used to establish the camp, but now its staffing structure and operating model will need to be streamlined.
Roebourne Regional Prison Superintendent Richard Butcher said the cuts were in line with those affecting most prisons and work camps in the State and were unlikely to affect the level of community work or traineeship opportunities for inmates.
“The budget is very very tight for the department,” he said.
“There has been a lot of work in head office, various departments having to become more efficient (and) make cuts.
“Work camps have always been potentially vulnerable to that, but I’m delighted the funding has actually been provided. I think it indicates all the hard work the staff and prisoners have done at the camp.”
The Department of Corrective Services failed to respond to queries on the level of funding set to be provided or the nature of cuts by the time of going to print.
The Roebourne Town Work Camp is one of only five prison work camps in WA and the sole one in the Pilbara, and has seen a lot of success since it was established in 2014 as a replacement for the previous Millstream Work Camp which was closed due to budget constraints.
The work camp does frequent community work around the City of Karratha area, recently won the WA PCYC Regional Partnership of the Year award for its work with Roebourne PCYC and has been nominated for a City of Karratha Community Service Australia Day award for the past two years.
Supt Butcher said the camp’s high level of local community output and educational opportunities through the local TAFE meant its work went beyond that of most camps.
“I guess the services and the work that have been carried out in the work camp in the time it’s been operating made it a relatively easy decision for the department,” he said.
“It’s such a successful work camp in that sense.
“It’s also unique in another sense, in that it’s adjacent to the prison, and there’s many benefits we get to that… and it’s a lot closer to the communities than Millstream... So it provides more project work opportunities and traineeships with the TAFE because of its location.”
Pilbara MLA Brendon Grylls, who signed off on the initial Royalties for Regions funding for the camp in 2012 as the Regional Development and Lands Minister, said the work camp was a valuable service for reducing high recidivism rates in the Pilbara and one which should not be lost.
“Yes there are efficiencies to be found,” he said.
“If numbers are down in the work camp or for whatever reasons efficiencies need to be found there I don’t oppose that.
“Each department has to manage within the confines of what they are given.”