26/2/08Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk has ordered the implementation of all the recommendations of a review of prisoner transport services following the death in custody last month of a Warburton Community member, Mr Ward.Ms Quirk said the departmental review into the process, protocols and practices associated with prisoner transport was not an inquiry into Mr Ward’s death but was necessary to give the community some assurance that prisoner transport was as safe and humane as possible.“After a stringent review of operating procedures which have duty of care implications, I have directed that additional measures be implemented by March 28,” the Minister said.“These include breaks in journeys of more than two hours’ duration, physical checks and interaction with prisoners during journey breaks and new requirements for extreme climatic conditions.“By March 14, I have directed the Department of Corrective Services to obtain advice from the Western Australia Police to ensure that everyone leaving custody is fit to travel. Handover documentation will be amended to include a fitness to travel clearance.“By May 31, I have directed that all vehicles in the fleet must have comprehensive checks for roadworthiness and functional effectiveness by reputable accredited agents and that there will be remote temperature monitoring from the offender compartments to the staff cab and fail safe duress buttons.“I have also directed that all options for expediting the full replacement of the fleet be considered and progressed.”Ms Quirk said police had already investigated Mr Ward’s death and she had written to Attorney General Jim McGinty asking that he canvass State Coroner Alastair Hope to expedite an inquiry. She had also asked if autopsy information could be released to Mr Ward’s family before the inquest.The Minister said she understood Mr Hope had advised Mr McGinty that the cause of Mr Ward’s death was still to be determined.“When more is known, information will be provided to Mr Ward’s wife and the Clerk of Courts Kalgoorlie will convene a meeting at the Warburton Community to discuss the cause of death and the inquest hearing process,” she said. “The Coroner advises that there may be some delay in the forensic pathologist determining a cause of death and for police to finalise its investigation.“I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the wife and family of Mr Ward and the Warburton Community, of which he was he was an important and respected member.”Minister's office - 9213 7000
RECOMMENDATIONS OF PRISONER TRANSPORT SERVICES REVIEWImmediate - contractual
- By March 7, GSL undertake a complete review of its operating procedures which have duty of care implications. Provisions related to the following to be incorporated: breaks in journeys of more than two hours’ duration, physical checks and interaction with prisoners during journey breaks and any additional provisions which are required in extreme climatic conditions.
- By March 28, the Department of Corrective Services to consult with the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA), the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee and the Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services, and following that consultation amend and/or approve GSL’s revised procedures for immediate implementation.
Immediate - vehicles
- By March 14, Department of Corrective Services to have obtained advice from WA Police to ensure that all persons leaving its custody are fit to travel. Handover documentation to be amended to include a fitness to travel clearance.
Department of Corrective Services
- By May 31, the current vehicle fleet to have comprehensive checks for roadworthiness and functional effectiveness by reputable accredited agents and all requisite repairs undertaken.
- By May 31, all vehicles to have remote temperature monitoring from the offender compartments to the staff cab.
- By May 31, duress buttons to be updated (and installed in vehicles without any) such that have audible notification as well as visible, they stay on ‘alert’ when button released and cancellation requires positive action by staff.
- By April 30, a comprehensive maintenance record to be collated for each vehicle in the fleet.
- The department continue to work with other agencies to reduce the rate at which indigenous people are held in custody and, where custody is necessary, to reduce the rate at which indigenous peoples are incarcerated ‘out of country’.
- By May 31, the Department of Corrective Services to address the findings in the internal audit undertaken by an external consultant which was commissioned on August 24, 2007.
- The Risk Management framework whereby all contractual and operational risks are identified and actions put in place to minimise a) the likelihood of them occurring and b) the consequence should they occur - to be updated, utilised and kept under constant review.
- By April 30, complete the review of vehicle design with input from interested stakeholders (including ALSWA), and including a review of vehicles used in other States. Expedite the replacement of the current vehicle fleet. Revised replacement schedule to be finalised by June 30.
- By June 30, examine the feasibility of transferring ownership of the vehicle fleet to the service provider to enable it to utilise its fleet management expertise and experience and to place greater focus on service delivery. This examination to include alternative options for delivering transport services and is to be undertaken in consultation with key stakeholders.
- Continue to review contract administration arrangements and provide advice on any necessary legislative amendments to the Minister for Corrective Services by July 31.
- By May 31, rigorous qualitative service standards to be developed for all aspects of the contract and all agencies to put in place monitoring arrangements against these specifications. These standards to be tabled in Parliament by the Minister for Corrective Services by end of June, 2008.
- By June 30, all contract monitoring processes and meetings to be reviewed and documented as a set of procedures - review to be undertaken by person with experience of custodial contract administration in another jurisdiction.
- By August 31, GSL to ensure all personnel with prisoner contact have undertaken adequate indigenous cultural training. ALSWA to be consulted in relation to the content of this training.
- Action and implementation in response to recommendations 1, 10, 11, 27, 28, 31 and 39 from the Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services report No. 43 Thematic Review of Custodial Transport Services as outlined in this report to continue. Report to be provided to Minister for Corrective Services by June 30, detailing progress against all recommendations.