John D'Orazio

John D'Orazio

Former Minister for Police and Emergency Services; Justice; Community Safety

    $100million investment in a better corrections system for WA

    23/04/2006 9:19 AM

    A $100million State Government commitment will lay the foundation for a new and better corrections system in Western Australia.

    Justice Minister John D’Orazio today announced the changes as the next phase of a 10-year reform program ‘Restoring the Balance’, which implements the recommendations of the Mahoney Inquiry into the management of offenders in custody and the community.

    “These changes will restore the balance in favour of community safety and reducing reoffending,” Mr D’Orazio said.

    “They will give corrections staff more support, and more resources to do their jobs and get the results the community expects.”

    Mr D’Orazio said the funding announced today would include:
    • $17.5million for 31 additional permanent community corrections officer positions - a 24 per cent increase on current numbers, and 18 new permanent juvenile justice officer positions - a 33 per cent increase;
    • a $19million boost for prison staffing including at least 70 new positions; and
    • an additional $20million for training across the corrections system.
    “We will be working to attract and keep well qualified, highly motivated staff in our corrections system, including making a greater effort to recruit locally for the department’s regional services,” the Minister said.

    “The new corrections system will also provide more training and career opportunities and better, safer working conditions.”

    Mr D’Orazio said new funding would also enable major improvements in the State’s correction system, including:
    • establishing a set of professional standards to provide clear guidelines and procedures for offender management across the service;
    • better integration of custodial and community-based offender management, intelligence gathering and performance measuring;
    • new measures to classify prisoners so prisoners are placed appropriately; and
    • increasing offender participation in work and training.
    “We want our prison and community-based services to work together more closely and more effectively,” the Minister said.

    “This should mean that that once offenders leave the system, they are less likely to return.

    “We also want to ensure that those offenders who should be in custody are kept there and at an appropriate level of security.”

    Mr D’Orazio also said amendments to the Prisons Act 1981 and the Sentence Administration Act 2003 had been introduced in Parliament as the first stage of the development of a new Corrections Act as recommended by Justice Mahoney.

    “These changes will give prison managers the legal authority, to protect victims, prison staff and others from unwanted contact by offenders,” he said.

    “Prisons will also be able to require that all prisoners participate in work, education or training, unless there are compelling health reasons, but the safety of the community must be their first consideration.

    “Increased use of work camps and prisoner community work projects will create more opportunities for offenders to repay their debt to the community.

    “The amendments allow better information sharing between the corrections system and relevant health and community agencies, to help improve the management of offenders, especially when they return to the community.

    “We will also be able to develop more effective rehabilitation and support programs if we can share prison data with research organisations.”

    Mr D’Orazio said the amendments would also formalise the separation of the Department of Justice into the Department of Corrective Services and the Department of the Attorney General.

    The Minister said new capital commitments would be detailed in future announcements.

    Minister's office: 9213 7150