No disarray after prison escape: Govt
The State Government has denied claims its prison system is in disarray after the Opposition called into question how a young woman was able to escape Broome Regional Prison and allegedly cause $5 million in damage by setting a local school on fire.
Speaking in Question Time in Parliament last week, shadow minister for corrective services Sean L’Estrange said the corrective system was in disarray following the incident last month.
Police allege Maude Dixon set fire to a mattress in her cell at Broome Regional Prison before escaping and setting fire to a classroom block at the historic Broome Primary School.
Mr L’Estrange said claims by Corrective Services Minister Fran Logan there had been no breakdown in security during the incident were not valid.
A separate question to the minister also revealed annual performance appraisals for prison officers had been abandoned at some of WA’s larger prisons, and there were reports of CCTV black spots due to budget constraints.
“If Minister Logan is not addressing performance issues among prison officers at some of our State’s largest facilities, how can prisons be expected to improve their security measures and reduce the recidivism rate?” Mr L’Estrange said.
“The McGowan Labor Government can’t ignore its responsibility to provide safe and secure corrective services.”
Mr Logan hit back last Thursday , saying the department had started an immediate review into the Broome escape.
“Broome Regional Prison was left in a disgraceful state by the previous Liberal-National Government who closed it, then reopened it, but then let it fall into a terrible state of disrepair with no idea about what they were going to do with it,” he said.
“The McGowan Government, shortly after being elected, invested $2.7 million into Broome Regional Prison, including security and cell upgrades to the women’s section of the jail.
“This Government has also invested $1.4 million into planning for a new prison in Broome and the Department of Justice has been working with traditional owners on identifying a potential site for a new prison.
“We are also addressing the inherited overcrowding crisis with a $300 million investment into 1228 new beds, with another 512 of them expected to be in place by the middle of this year.”