Prison ‘bursting at the seams’
PRISON officers have described Acacia Prison as a powder keg waiting to explode.
The privately run medium security jail was bursting at the seams and was now Australia’s biggest, they claimed.
Officers were walking into a “dangerous and unsafe” work environment every day and the prison would “go up” if something was not done to ease the tension.
Jail sources have also told
The Sunday Times that prisoners are at boiling point over cancelled medical, dental and psychiatric appointments due to a lack of transport services.
Appointments outside of the prison can take months to organise and confirm.
Corrective Service Minister Fran Logan warned Serco that he expected “any private operator of a taxpayer-funded facility to adhere to their contract, which includes the proper management of staff”.
“I will be meeting with Serco soon to discuss a number of concerns with its operation of Acacia prison,” he said.
WA Prison Officers Union secretary Andy Smith said during one shift last week just 83 officers were guarding more than 1400 prisoners, which was “unbelievable” in light of the recent Greenough riots.
The claims follow revelations in State Parliament that six female Acacia prison officers were in the process of being “groomed” by prison inmates.
“When prison officers work on their own, that’s what happens,” Mr Smith said. “You can’t have a prison that size with a shrinking number of officers and not expect it to be a highly dangerous and volatile environment.”
He said he believed Acacia was at least 20 officers short.
Serco said its daily “temperature checks” indicated there was “no indication of unrest”.
It said it maintained a “dynamic approach” to prisoner management which “allows us to manage risk on a day-today basis”.