Bud­get cut for prison work camp

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

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.”

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