WAPOU calls on State Government to invest in WA prisons

The WA Prison Officers’ Union (WAPOU) is calling on the State Government to act on recommendations to invest in Albany Regional Prison following a damming report by the Inspector of Custodial Services.

The report tabled in Parliament today found Albany, like most prisons across the state is understaffed and suffering from aging and outdated infrastructure.

It also highlighted the problems of overcrowding with two prisoners to one cell, and the doubling of the population of maximum security prisoners over a three year period.

WAPOU Secretary Andy Smith said on average Albany Regional Prison runs about 12 staff short on any given day.

“The overcrowding and shortage of staff results in regular lockdowns of prisoners and reduced access to education programs to address behaviour, this creates a very volatile and dangerous environment,” he said.

“As we saw in Greenough Regional Prison locking down prisoners is not conducive to prisoner behaviour modifications or a safe environment.

“Recruitment of prison officers to regional areas is an enormous problem, there is a lack of incentive for prison officers in Perth to relocate to regional facilities. The current relaxed cap on overtime in WA prisons is only a short term solution and we look forward to working with government to ensure there is a long term recruitment plan.

“The union commends the dedication and tremendous work effort of prison officers at Albany Regional Prison who every day are faced with challenging conditions. The observation made in the report that staff were making it work despite the pressures is an acknowledgement to be proud of,” Mr Smith said.