Prison con­di­tions still poor: re­port

Pilbara News - - News - Alicia Per­era

A lack of long-term gov­ern­ment plan­ning for Pil­bara cus­to­dial ser­vices is the key rea­son for on­go­ing poor con­di­tions at Roe­bourne Re­gional Prison, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port from the In­spec­tor of Cus­to­dial Ser­vices.

In a prison in­spec­tion re­port tabled in Par­lia­ment last Mon­day, In­spec­tor Neil Morgan ac­knowl­edged pos­i­tive steps had been taken at Roe­bourne since his 2013 in­spec­tion, in­clud­ing im­proved ser­vices for the women’s unit, bet­ter staff morale and the in­tro­duc­tion of heat-re­duc­ing mea­sures.

How­ever, he said they were out­weighed by press­ing con­cerns, in­clud­ing “dis­grace­ful” hy­giene in com­mu­nal ablu­tion blocks, no air­con­di­tion­ing in most cells, and the prison work camp rou­tinely op­er­at­ing at half its ca­pac­ity.

Mr Morgan said the over­all few changes made at Roe­bourne be­tween re­ports in­di­cated a lack of long-term strat­egy for cus­to­dial ser­vices in the Pil­bara.

“De­spite the ob­vi­ous need for more ap­pro­pri­ate prison ac­com­mo­da­tion. . . our in­quiries about long-term plan­ning have gone mostly unan­swered,” he said.

A DCS spokesman high­lighted the pos­i­tive changes at the prison iden­ti­fied in the re­port and said they were oth­er­wise lim­ited in what they could do there by bud­get con­straints. “The depart­ment does not al­ways agree with OICS re­ports and that is the case with some of the Roe­bourne re­port,” he said. “The truth is the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tive Ser­vices, like all gov­ern­ment de­part­ments has to work within a bud­get and we have to pri­ori­tise ser­vices and how we spend pub­lic funds.”

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