- First of its kind alcohol and other drug treatment prison for women opens
- Another key pillar of the McGowan Labor Government's $131 million Meth Action Plan implemented
- New treatment prison will help break the cycle of drug offending and reoffending
- 24 women have begun the treatment programs at the prison
The McGowan Government has delivered the State's first female treatment prison in a significant step forward in the fight against methamphetamine addiction and other drugs.
Premier Mark McGowan and Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan today opened the Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison.
This first of its kind treatment prison will provide innovative and forward-thinking treatment programs to try to break the cycle of drug offending and reoffending.
The treatment model focuses on all drugs with a priority to break the addiction to methamphetamine, and forms part of the McGowan Labor Government's multi-faceted approach to curbing the drug's grip on the State through its $131 million Meth Action Plan.
Formerly operated as the Wandoo Reintegration Centre, the repurposed facility follows the McGowan Government's work to bring the prison back into public hands to ensure the facility operates efficiently and saves taxpayer dollars.
Prisoners have to apply to attend the treatment facility and prove that they are willing to try to break their addictions.
A triage unit will assess their suitability across a range of criteria including security considerations, a demonstrated desire to treat their drug addiction, and having less than six months remaining on their sentence.
The treatment model targets and prioritises the individual circumstances and needs of each offender including responding to identified mental health issues, which often go hand in hand with drug and alcohol abuse. The Wandoo prisoners will receive follow up care on their release.
There are 24 women currently in the facility who will undergo a therapeutic community-led model that uses peer support and a range of programs, such as counselling and art therapy to address the underlying causes of addiction. More prisoners will be added on a staggered basis.
The facility can treat up to 77 minimum and medium-security prisoners who will be regularly tested for drug use. Visitors will be screened for drugs by a drug-detection dog and technology similar to that used at airports.
A second treatment prison for male prisoners, which is to be constructed, is expected to open in late 2019.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"This first of its kind treatment prison for female offenders is the kind of smart, nuanced approach needed to tackle the awful cycle of drug-related offending - and reoffending.
"Today's announcement is a result of this Government's work to bring the Wandoo facility back into public hands and transition it into a purpose-made treatment prison in a relatively short time. I thank the staff at Wandoo who have worked tirelessly to transform this facility.
"My Government has a strong focus on community safety and we're doing what we can to strengthen services and initiatives to tackle the meth scourge, and bolster safety for the community and those who work on the front-line.
"We know the challenges that meth presents to our society and that's why we are tackling it head on by implementing our Meth Action Plan, which includes the development of a men's version of this prison at Casuarina, fast-tracking of treatment beds in the South-West, the introduction of a meth border force with 100 officers and bringing in the toughest penalties in the nation for meth traffickers."
Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
"I would like to thank the staff at Wandoo and the Department of Justice for their expediency in establishing this innovative treatment prison.
"Many prison officers, and prisoners, know that a dedicated facility that focuses solely on drug addiction - and related mental health issues - is the approach that has been needed for some time.
"I have seen first-hand similar treatment facilities in Sydney and Melbourne, and I believe that we have developed a model that is the first of its kind.
"We will be attempting to break a cycle of criminal behaviour that for many of these women would not exist if it were not for their drug addictions.
"There is a great deal of interest in this facility from my Eastern States counterparts and internationally, including Singapore.
"I wish the staff and the prisoners the best of luck with this Australian-first treatment model that I hope will make a big difference in not only the lives of these women but also their families."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Corrective Services Minister's office - 6552 6300