Hon Murray Cowper MLA

Hon Murray Cowper MLA

Former Minister for Training and Workforce Development; Corrective Services

    Respecting the risk prison officers take

    23/10/2012 12:00 AM
     
    • State Govt recognises hard work of WA prison officers
    Corrective Services Minister Murray Cowper has acknowledged the good work of prison officers at the launch of the WA Prison Officers’ Union advertising campaign ‘Respect the Risk’.

    Mr Cowper said the State Government recognised and appreciated the work prison staff undertook on a daily basis to create safe, decent and secure environments within the State’s custodial system and urged the public to feel similarly.

    “Western Australia’s prison officers are dedicated members of the community who go to work every day in a high-risk environment and the public should be reminded of the excellent job these officers do,” he said.

    “Ultimately our prison staff protect the community, work to prevent recidivism and encourage prisoners to adopt law-abiding lifestyles.”

    The Minister said the advertising campaign had been launched ahead of formal negotiations between the State Government and the union of the prison officers’ Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, due to commence in January 2013.

    “While I cannot be drawn on any speculation as to the outcome of that formal process, I am proud that under the Liberal-National Government we currently have some of the best paid prison officers in the country,” he said.

    “The Government has not only embarked on the biggest-ever custodial infrastructure program in the State's history at a cost of $655million, we have also employed an additional 575 prison officers in the past four years.

    “Efficiencies to be implemented within the Department of Corrective Services will have no impact on prison officer numbers; in fact recruitment has been ongoing.”

    Mr Cowper said the infrastructure program would add 2,600 beds to the prison system and followed a period of eight years under the previous Labor government where only 300 beds were added to the system.

    “There has been a lot of catching up to do but I am pleased to report that as at today, there are currently 247 spare prison beds across the system,” he said. “While there are still more beds to be added, it is a reality that double-bunking exists in most prison systems across the world.  We don’t apologise for this - these offenders are not at a hotel, they are in prison.”
     
          Fact File
    • Dept of Corrective Services has 4th biggest Budget allocation across Government
    • State’s prison population today is 4,889 and operational capacity is 5,136
    Minister's office - 6552 5700