Margaret Quirk

Margaret Quirk

Minister for Corrective Services; Small Business

    Extensions to Wooroloo Prison Farm make mockery of Opposition claims

    12/04/2008 12:00 AM

    The addition of 40 extra beds at the Wooroloo Prison Farm has made a mockery of Opposition claims that the Carpenter Government is failing to address prison bed issues in Western Australia.


    Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk said that upgraded security, extra camera surveillance and an extra 40 beds at the prison farm east of Perth were the latest developments in ongoing infrastructure programs at WA jails.


    Ms Quirk officially opened the new unit and other completed building works at the prison farm today, bringing the minimum security jail’s capacity to 250 prisoners.


    “This Government makes no apologies for the fact that its tough stance on law and order has led to an increase in the prison population,” she said.


    “Since 2001, the State’s prison capacity has so far increased by 291 beds with a further 112 to be commissioned this year.


    “Contrary to Opposition spokesman Rob Johnson’s claims that the Carpenter Government has not provided one single extra prison bed, these 40 beds at Wooroloo form part of our ongoing program.


    “Added to what this Government has already done, a number of increases in capacity at several prisons across WA will be completed shortly.


    “Consistently, Rob Johnson doesn’t let the facts ruin what he thinks is a good story. But that’s all his claims are - a good yarn.  The community deserves a mature and informed dialogue on these issues.”


    As well as the extra beds, security at Wooroloo has been boosted with extra camera surveillance, a more secure entry building (gatehouse) and mobile duress alarms to be worn by all staff.


    “The alarm systems allow a staff member to signal for help in an instant and if they are moved by a prisoner, say in a hostage situation, their exact location can be continually monitored,” the Minister said.


    “Prison officers do an important job and it’s vital we take every effort to ensure it is as safe as possible.”


    The $8.7million worth of construction at Wooroloo Prison Farm includes:

    ·         three, six-bed, self-care units for prisoners (18 beds);

    ·         conversion of older buildings and new construction to create a further 22 beds;

    ·         a new prisoner induction area;

    ·         a new health building; and

    ·         refurbishment and extension of existing buildings to create a purpose-built  education/prisoner programs area.


    The construction works have replaced some buildings lost in a fire at the prison in 1997 and brings others that were separate from main buildings closer together for enhanced staff security.


    “These works don’t just mean more prison beds, they also mean a better working environment for staff and more scope to provide meaningful, effective education and programs for prisoners to address their offending behaviour,” Ms Quirk said.


    Works are also in progress or planned at Broome Regional Prison, Bandyup Women’s Prison, Bunbury Regional Prison and the new West Kimberley Prison at Derby.


    Minister's office - 9213 7000