Inspector’s Report shows need for change at Hakea

A new report into Hakea Prison backs prison officers’ claims of poor management at the prison and the need for urgent change and investment in infrastructure.

The report, by the Inspector of Custodial Services Neil Morgan, found that relationships between management and staff were poor and that management needed to become more visible and engaged with staff.

WA Prison Officers’ Union Secretary John Welch said that staff shortages and overcrowding remained serious problems at Hakea and that seven prison officers had been assaulted in the prison in late December.

“The report praised the hard-work and professionalism of prison officers in dealing with overcrowding and inadequate infrastructure at the prison,” Mr Welch said.

“But there is a limit to what prison officers can be expected to do in an atmosphere that has become increasingly volatile over summer.

“Staff had been very unhappy with management at the prison and it is easy to see why when overcrowding, short-staffing and the failures around the new units are all putting extra pressure on prison officers.”

“Every prison officer at Hakea knows that the current facility is not big enough for the number of prisoners it is required to handle.”

“The report clearly states that the failure to open the two new units has put extra pressure on existing infrastructure and even when they are opened the Government has extraordinarily decided to close other units at the Prison.”

Mr Welch said that recent management changes at the prison gave some hope that things could improve and he very much welcomed the appointment of Bob Reeby but there needed to be real consultation with staff about how the prison could work better.