Prison conditions still poor: report

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Roebourne Regional Prison.
Camera IconRoebourne Regional Prison. Credit: Chris Lees

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 air-conditioning 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.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails