- Corrective Services Commissioner Tony Hassall to retire in early December
- Commissioner Hassall has led unprecedented reform of WA's corrective services
- Leaves a legacy that has changed the lives of offenders
- Rose from prison officer rank in the UK to Corrective Services' highest position
Western Australia's Corrective Services Commissioner Tony Hassall will retire in early December leaving behind a legacy that has transformed offender management in the State.
Commissioner Hassall joined the then Department of Corrective Services in 2015 as Executive Director Operational Support and was made Deputy Commissioner, Regulation and Operational Services in 2016.
He became the acting Corrective Services Commissioner in March 2017 before being officially appointed in May 2018.
The reform of WA's Corrective Services under Commissioner Hassall's leadership has included:
- creating an Australian-first Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Prison for Women;
- $310 million infrastructure reform to address the inherited overcrowding crisis by adding 1,228 new beds to the WA prison estate;
- the transformation of Banksia Hill Detention Centre into a stable facility with a new trauma-informed model of care;
- major overhaul of prison drug policies and intelligence strategies resulting in significant intercepts;
- the hiring of hundreds more prison officers including the use of regionally based training schools;
- the creation of an Australian-first Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment facility for men at Casuarina Prison;
- the introduction of a Participation, Partnership and Promotion of Culture guide to further improve respectful and culturally sensitive relationships with Aboriginal people; and
- the Helping Hands program during the COVID pandemic to support community groups by preparing meals and making home-study furniture.
Before emigrating to Australia, Commissioner Hassall started his career in England as a prison officer, eventually becoming the governor of one of the largest prisons in Europe.
He later became area manager for Yorkshire and Humberside overseeing 12 prisons and more than 9,000 prisoners.
Commissioner Hassall will retire in early December after more than four decades working in Corrective Services.
Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
"Commissioner Tony Hassall's retirement in December will leave behind a legacy that has changed prisoners' lives for the better and will make a significant difference to community safety.
"His leadership led to the creation of the Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison in less than a year, which was a remarkable outcome.
"Wandoo has gone on to change the lives of more than 120 women who struggled with drug addiction that led to their criminal offending.
"The facility has also remained drug-free in its more than two years in operation, which is unprecedented throughout the world.
"Commissioner Hassall also led the $310 million investment to create 1,228 new prison beds across WA's jails with major builds at Bunbury and Casuarina Prison.
"The delivery of five new prison units at the two prisons was completed in an extremely short timeframe. It included the delivery of the Mallee Rehabilitation Centre for men, which I hope will deliver the same kind of extraordinary results that we have seen from Wandoo.
"I would also like to commend Commissioner Hassall's handling of indigenous relations during extremely difficult times such as the passing of prisoners in custody.
"The compassion and due care he shows reflect his personal character.
"He has created strong and highly beneficial relations with elders and community groups that are helping to make a significant difference to the lives of young detainees and adult prisoners across the State.
"Internally Commissioner Hassall has made a significant difference to the lives of prisoner officers, community offender management staff and corrective services staff with the hiring of hundreds more prison officers, vocational support officers and community offender staff.
"He is a tireless champion for his staff while also refusing to accept standards that are not of the highest order.
"His leadership will be sorely missed."
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