A major upgrade of the Roebourne Regional Prison means more prisoners from the Pilbara region can now be accommodated rather than serving their sentences away from family and friends, Assisting Justice Minister Kevin Minson said today.
Mr Minson, who visited Roebourne today to commission the new section of the prison, said the $6 million project meant the jail was now a medium security facility.
"This is one of the most significant aspects of the upgrading as it fulfills a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody by allowing more prisoners from the region to be placed closer to their families," he said.
"The prison can now house 148 offenders instead of 81 and prison staff have increased from 39 to 60 with a further 14 arriving soon.
"This means an economic boost to nearby towns such as Roebourne, Wickham, Dampier and Karratha in terms of more people and additional services for a bigger prison."
The upgrade included:
+ 49 cells converted to medium security;
+ a new security fence and perimeter lighting;
+ installation of closed-circuit television cameras and electronic detection systems;
+ a new gatehouse and control room;
+ improved program areas;
+ a new visitors' centre.
"The Roebourne Regional Prison is now the most northerly and remote of the State's medium security facilities," Mr Minson said.
"The design is unique to the WA prison system as it has been purpose-built to suit the local weather conditions.
"The original prison was built of local stone in the 1890s and has been heritage listed and is now a major tourist attraction for Roebourne."
Media contact: Caroline Lacy 222 9211