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The WA Boom…In Prison Population

8 Aug 2012

All you hear mostly about the mining boom in Western Australia is the wonders of people making money hand over fist…well, mostly Gina and her band. But, there’s another side: the overcrowding in prisons.

As the WA Prison Officers’ Union has been pointing out for some time, via its Respect The Risk campaign, there is a serious problem — which is finally being recognized by in a new report by Western Australia’s Inspector of Custodial Services. The union saw this coming a long time ago, as WAPOU Secretary John Welch says:

Today’s report from the Inspector of Custodial Services lists the State Government’s failure to replace or renovate vital infrastructure at Albany Prison, some of which has needed attention for many years…Mr Morgan’s report highlights the opening of a new accommodation unit earlier this year only for another unit to be mothballed at the same time – saying the government has ‘redistributed not redressed’ the overcrowding problem at the prison.

Once again, a union has seen ahead of the curve — because its members are the ones dealing, in this case, with overcrowding and the threat to the working conditions of its members from the push to privatisation. Action now would speak a whole lot louder than just a report, as welcome as it might be.