- The Department of Justice's new Professional Standards Division is spearheading significant change in Corrective Services governance and accountability
- Drug testing of staff has increased from year to year
- Anti-corruption and integrity education sessions delivered to hundreds of staff
- Department's investigation and intelligence resources increased
The Department of Justice's new Professional Standards Division has led a concerted effort to improve how the department proactively addresses performance, risk management and misconduct matters.
In its first year of operation, the PSD has overseen the introduction of more resources for intelligence and investigation functions, increased staff drug and alcohol testing, established a new integrity framework and implemented new staff education sessions.
As part of the increased focus on accountability, last year drug and alcohol testing of Corrective Services staff rose by 68 per cent to 2018 people tested.
The State-wide regime found nine Corrective Services staff tested positive for alcohol and eight tested positive for having illicit drugs in their system. The positive testing level for alcohol is 0.02 per cent.
The 17 staff represent less than 0.4 per cent of Western Australia's 4,500 corrective services staff.
Of the staff who tested positive for drugs, all were suspended. Of those, six resigned or were dismissed, one received a warning, and another matter did not proceed.
Those who tested positive for alcohol were removed from the workplace and received further testing. Four received written warnings or were reprimanded.
In 2018, 1,201 people were tested with nine Corrective Services staff testing positive to alcohol and six testing positive to illicit drugs.
The PSD has also been tasked to improve the department's proactive approach to eliminating suspected staff misconduct as well.
The division has 51 staff, including two WA Police detectives, who last year dealt with 792 potential misconduct cases. More than 260 required no further action.
Misconduct can include minor beaches such as spreading malicious gossip and excessive use of a computer for personal reasons or major breaches such as drug taking, assault, trafficking contraband and fraud.
- 121 (15 per cent) were referred for assessment and investigation by the Integrity and Accountability Directorate;
- 41 (five per cent) were referred to the Police Team; and
- 78 (10 per cent) were retained for intelligence purposes.
- Of the remaining 552 (70 per cent) cases these were dealt with by Misconduct Assessment Unit of which:
- 25 (five per cent) resulted in Improvement Action
- 35 (six per cent) were referred to third party contracted service providers (Broadspectrum, Sodexo and Acacia)
- 225 (41 per cent) were referred for Local Management action by Prison Superintendents and other executive managers
- 3 (0.5 per cent) were referred to ACCESS (dealt with as a prisoner complaint)
- 2 (0.5 per cent) were referred to be dealt with via the Public Service staff grievance process
- 262 (47 per cent) resulted in No Further Action
Staff who were found to have breached the code of conduct or to have committed some form of misconduct were subject to sanctions that included dismissals, suspensions and written warnings.
Five Corrective Services staff were subject to loss of confidence proceedings last year. Three resigned before finalisation of their cases, two cases are ongoing.
The PSD works in partnership across the whole of the Department of Justice to instil a values-based culture.
The division's Corruption, Prevention and Education Directorate delivered anti-corruption and integrity sessions to 733 staff in its first year of operation.
The department also released a new Justice Integrity Framework last July to help strengthen departmental responses to misconduct or potential corruption.
Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
"The McGowan Government has made clear its commitment to improving the integrity and conduct of Western Australia's Corrective Services across the board.
"That has included more drug detection dogs, new drug testing technology, addressing the inherited overcrowding crisis with new prison units, hiring more prison officers and increasing our investigation and intelligence resources.
"This has not only led to some significant drug and contraband finds among prisoners and their visitors, but had also helped to ensure the integrity of our Corrective Services staff by identifying and removing or disciplining those that would seek to hurt the high standards we expect.
"There is no place for them in our Corrective Services and we will continue to ensure the integrity of our prisons is to the highest order.
"The Professional Standards Division was introduced a year ago to lead that improvement in proactively addressing performance, risk management and misconduct matters.
"It has shown that overwhelmingly our State's 4,500 Corrective Services staff serve our community with distinction and pride.
"However, the PSD has proven in its first year of operation that it has the tools, resources and commitment to address what is a very small group who may bring down the high standard of our prisons and corrective services.
"I am also very pleased that the anti-corruption and integrity awareness training by the division is being rolled out successfully and I look forward to seeing those training numbers continue to grow.
"All staff are now aware of their obligations and these results show the message is getting through.
"We have also created an environment that makes it easier for people to report activity they feel uncomfortable about.
"PSD staff assess that information and investigate all matters thoroughly and I would encourage staff to continue to report suspected behaviour that they feel does not meet the high standards expected."
Minister's office - 6552 6300