- Two of four new units at Casuarina Prison now open
- Prisoners being moved into new 128-bed units
- Part of $96.3 million expansion of Casuarina Prison
- Addresses prison overcrowding inherited by previous Liberal-National Government
The legacy of overcrowded Western Australian prisons and underinvestment in prison infrastructure is now being addressed with the commissioning of two 128-bed units at Casuarina Prison.
The new units, part of a $96.3 million four-unit expansion, are now being filled with prisoners from within Casuarina and from Hakea Prison.
The movement of the prisoners has provided much-needed relief to the State's prison estate that, for many years, had been dealing with the severe overcrowding crisis left by the previous Liberal-National Government.
The McGowan Government implemented a rapid bed infill program on coming into office and began planning to use existing prison land to build new prison units at Casuarina Prison and Bunbury Regional Prison.
The 160-bed Bunbury unit was complete last November and the four units at Casuarina prison were recently finished.
Both projects provided hundreds of local jobs and used local content.
The third Casuarina unit will become WA's first Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Prison for men and will offer 128 prisoners the opportunity to address their addictions which have led to their offending.
It is expected to be operational by October.
The remaining fourth unit is intended to become a dedicated mental health accommodation unit, which, again, will be a first for WA.
In total, the McGowan Government has added 882 new beds to WA's custodial estate for an investment of just $127 million, which is a fraction of the potential cost for a new standalone prison.
Another 344 beds will be built at Casuarina Prison by 2023, bringing the total to 1,228 beds the McGowan Government has added to WA's custodial estate for $310 million at a cost of hundreds of local jobs created.
Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
"The legacy of overcrowding in our State's jails has been a long one, but the solution has been quick.
"The McGowan Government saw the opportunity to use existing prison land to fast track the build of new units that would address the years of underinvestment by the previous Liberal-National Government in our jails.
"It might have been an easy political solution to turn a blind eye for the previous Government, but the problems of overcrowding also affect staff, safety and rehabilitation outcomes, which in turn is a problem for society.
"These 512 new beds at Casuarina combined with the new 160-bed unit at Bunbury and the rapid infill program of 212 beds means we have put in place 882 new beds, which is the equivalent of a new prison, but in a fraction of the time and cost.
"By the end of 2023, Casuarina Prison will be the biggest in the State with 1,782 total beds, which will include a Super Max unit for disruptive prisoners, a priority one mental health unit and aged care support."
Minister's office - 6552 6300