Kevin Minson

Kevin Minson


    Issues in media report on WA prisons system already addressed

    2/04/1996 12:00 AM



    A media report that the Western Australian prisons system had failed to address problems with officer training and prisoner rehabilitation programs was based on a ‘confidential report’ that carried little credibility, Assisting Justice Minister Kevin Minson said today.


    Mr Minson said issues raised in the ‘confidential report’ had been identified and were already being addressed long before the report was leaked to the press.


    “We have supplementary funding of $2.6 million to be put into programs this financial year that concentrate on problem areas to improve the adult prison and offender system,” he said.


    The funding injection includes:


    ·       $1 million for programs to reduce reoffending including aggression control, substance abuse, sex offender treatment, education, vocational and domestic violence training;

    ·       $750,000 for treatment initiatives for offenders on community-based programs;

    ·       $600,000 for prison officer training;

    ·       $192,000 for health obligations including improvements to medical, nursing, training and psychiatric programs; and -

    ·       $100,000 for expansion of the Karnet Prison water supply.


    Mr Minson said the extra funding for 1995-96 would be invaluable in boosting the Ministry of Justice’s rehabilitation program for offenders.


    “We must do much more than just warehouse prisoners - we need to work intensively with prisoners in an attempt to turn around their patterns of offending,” he said.


    “It is vital we recognise the importance of reducing the rate of reoffence and ensure prisoners address their anti-social behaviour before being released back into the community.


    “The Ministry has been running some very successful programs but more money was needed to ensure those services were available to a bigger portion of the prison population.”


    Additional psychiatric and psychological assessments of offenders would be carried out and community organisations would be contracted to provide life-skill and educational programs in areas such as domestic violence, financial counselling and teamwork development.


    Additional electronic monitoring units for community release prisoners would be bought.


    Selection and training of new prison officers would be more realistic and rigorous and next month training programs for new officers would begin at Albany and Greenough prisons for the first time.


    Media contact:  Steve Manchee 481 2133