News & Media
The Government was warned more than a year ago that a riot, violence and increased stress leave costing millions of dollars would likely result from widespread double-bunking at WA’s amalgamated juvenile detention centre.
The revelations are contained in a foreboding Department of Corrective Services dossier prepared for its executive management, obtained by the State Opposition, which declares most risks “extreme” and the consequences “major”.
Shadow corrective services minister Paul Papalia said yesterday the document proved that the disastrous January 20 riot at the Banksia Hill Detention Centre, which caused $1.55 million damage, was not only foreseeable but foreseen.
Read more via thewest.com.au
The Community and Public Sector Union has described the rising number of workers compensation claims in the sector as an “early warning sign” the system is not coping.
A report by WA’s Auditor General has found less than half of injured workers in the Departments of Education and Corrective Services were given adequate support to return to work.
He was examining why the number of public workers compensation claims was rising in Western Australia at a time when rates in the rest of the country are dropping.
The CPSU’s state secretary, Toni Walkington, says budget cuts and staff shortages have not helped.
Read more via ABC news
Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis doesn’t need a review to find out why so many youth custodial officers are on workers compensation, he just needs to put on more staff to cope with demand according to the Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association.
Branch Secretary Toni Walkington made the comment after the new minister hinted there may be a review of the selection process and training programs when being interviewed on radio today.
“That is a slap in the face for the stringent process that is already in place,” Ms Walkington said.
She said up to 60 of the 199 youth custodial officers assigned to the Banksia Hill Detention Centre were involved in some form of workers compensation with up to 35 of them on long-term leave.
These facts were highlighted in the Supreme Court review that ended on Friday after looking into the conditions of children in WA’s Corrective Services system.
“It is irresponsible for the minister to question the recruitment process and suggest some of the staff may be in the wrong profession, particularly when the claims relates to significant levels of stress and extreme assault.
“The current selection process is rigorous and not everyone who participates is able to complete it.”
Ms Walkington said chronic understaffing meant many of the staff were working extra shifts which was putting them under increased pressure and they could only do so much to fill in the gaps.
“Last year, well before the riot at Banksia Hill took place, we were campaigning for more staff to be employed to stop the rolling lockdowns which prevented children from getting access to adequate education and rehabilitation programs.
“The minister needs to avoid the rhetoric about reviews and just face facts – the system needs more staff.”
Ms Walkington said the system would be continue to be under pressure and there could possibly be more workers compensation claims if the Barnett Government did not respond soon to chronic staff shortages.
Private contractors that run security at Kimberley justice facilities could face reduced scrutiny if the Department of Corrective Services downsizes its audit team.
The Community and Public Sector Union last week raised concerns over a DCS decision to review its management of contracts through the court security and custodial services monitoring section.
Read more via thewest.com.au
Two key WA unions have slammed the Barnett Government’s decision to privatise the young adults prison in Murdoch.
The Rangeview Remand Centre for juveniles will soon be transformed in a centre for 18 to 24-year-old males and will be under the control of controversial multi-national company Serco.
The decision to give the private company $171million to run the facility doesn’t sit well with the Community and Public Sector Union or the WA Prison Officers’ Union.
They held a rally outside the centre recently with members of the Shadow Cabinet including Opposition Leader Mark McGowan.
“The Barnett Government is intent on privatising government services without giving a thought about the impact on the community, the workers or the people detained in juvenile detention,” CPSU Branch Secretary Toni Walkington said.
She said the original plan for the adult facility was for 18 to 22-year-old males who would be identified as wanting to make a change.
“But because the State Government insisted on it being privatised they changed the entire scope of the project that will include offenders up to 24 years of age.
“This change is not in the best interests of the rehabilitation system but was introduced because the private provider would not be interested in housing just 20 to 30 detainees at any one time.
“It needed to have a market and needed to have a scale, that is all private sector talk.”
Ms Walkington said privatisation was not good for the community or the corrective services system.
She said it was important that public services were kept in public hands and there was massive support in the community for this.
WAPOU Secretary John Welch said there was no financial benefit for the community and no improvement to public safety by giving Serco the contract.
He called on Corrective Services Minister Terry Redman to release the contract so everyone could understand the decision and what the financial benefits would be.
“Western Australians don’t want foreign multinationals making profit out of the crimes of which they and their families are the victims of,” Mr Welch said.
“Prisons and prison services should always be held in public hands; they are the responsibility of the state.
“The privatisation of any prison service poses a risk because experience around the globe shows that when prison services are privatised, jobs are cut in order to maximise profits for the company and its shareholders.”
Ms Walkington said they would be calling for inquiries into privatisation of essential public services.
“We believe if an investigation is done into the rationale behind the decision there would be no real difference in terms of cost with the public service doing it for the same amount of money, if not less.
Both union officials said the privatisation process needed to be revealed and exposed.
Ms Walkington said privatisation would play a key role in their campaign leading to the March 2013 State Election.
“We want to see people elected into parliament who care about the justice system and want to make a difference in our community and change people’s lives.”
CPSU/CSA Branch Secretary Toni Walkington and Opposition Leader Mark McGowan
CPSU/CSA Branch Secretary Toni Walkington, WA Prison Officers’ Union Secretary John Welch and Opposition MPs Peter Tinley, Fran Logan and Roger Cook.
CPSU/CSA Branch Secretary Toni Walkington with WA Prison Officers’ Union Secretary John Welch
Protesters outside Rangeview Remand Centre in Murdoch, south of Perth
WA Prison Officers’ Union Secretary John Welch, union supporter Kiara Andric, Cockburn MP Fran Logan, CPSU/CSA organiser Pauline Bombak and ALP candidate for Jandakot Lee-Anne Smith
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan and CPSU/CSA Branch Secretary Toni Walkington
At 9.00am Thursday 5 April 2012 the Shadow Minister for Corrective Service Fran Logan will be holding a Labor Cabinet meeting outside the Rangeview Remand Centre.
As part of the Don’t Outsource Justice Campaign, we encourage you to attend this event to highlight the issue of Privatisation!
The meeting will highlight concerns emanating from the Contract the State Government has signed with SERCO to manage and operate the Young Adult Offender Facility.
Details: Shadow Cabinet Meeting Corrective Services
Date: 9.00am, Thursday 5 April 2012
Location: Rangeview Remand Centre, corner of Bramanti Road and Murdoch Drive, Murdoch
Click image to enlarge. Note A&B markers indicate Transperth bus stops
Letters to the Editor, Melville Times – February 14, 2012
IF the State Government cares so much about law and order why is it contracting out services that should be run by the Department of Corrective Services?
I have just been told by a couple of concerned neighbours that the prison that is being established for young adult prisoners in Murdoch is being upgraded by the Government but will then be run by Serco.
On this company’s home page it says it is based in the United Kingdom, North America, Germany, India, Europe and the Middle East. So why is this international company taking over the running of a local asset?
Presumably it is going to be paid handsomely to run this service and how much of the money it will generate will stay in Western Australia?
Can someone from the Government reply and tell us why they made this decision?
By Brendan Holben, Melville Times.
THE union representing public sector workers is lobbying the State Government against awarding Serco a long-term contract to manage the soon-to-be-opened young adults detention centre in Murdoch.
State Corrective Services Minister Terry Redman said the Young Adults Facility was expected to open mid-2012 but the opening date was dependent on the completion of contract negotiations and building works.
It will replace the existing Rangeview Remand Centre. Juveniles there will be moved to the Banksia Hill Detention Centre.
The new facility will accommodate 80 males, aged 18 to 24. already in the prison system who have been identified as repeat offenders.
The Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association of WA (CPSU/CSA) is arguing the Government should only give British-based Serco a three-year contract if it is chosen as contractor for the facility.
Read more via In my community, Melville Times
The CPSU/CSA has condemned the Barnett Government’s announcement that multi-national company Serco will operate a new Young Adults Facility in Western Australia.
CPSU/CSA Secretary, Toni Walkington, says that the decision to outsource the new Young Adults facility will be disastrous for the state and put public safety at risk.
“Colin Barnett’s Government says they care about Law & Order but they are outsourcing key parts of the justice system to private companies, said Ms Walkington.
“Private companies exist to make profits for their shareholders – they do not exist to keep the community safe. Over recent months serious doubts have been cast over multi-nationals and their management of prisons, detention centres and public services.
A recent comprehensive evaluation of public versus private management of a new facility shows there is no benefit to the state from outsourcing this facility.
If the State Government walks away from its responsibilities it will not be able to protect the community.”
Ms Walkington said that a government that talks tough on Law & Order should not be outsourcing jobs in the justice system and putting public safety at risk.
The Barnett Government likes to talk tough on Law and Order, whenever there is a crime the Premier is out there for the cameras.
But when it comes to the vital work of the Department of Corrective Services, the Premier is looking at outsourcing key parts of the Justice system to foreign companies and charities.
In fact he has already passed legislation allowing vital elements of the justice system to be outsourced.
This agenda is a crude way of cutting costs – but we know from where it has been tried elsewhere that it will also lead to lower standards in the justice system.
If the Premier is serious about law and order he needs to guarantee that justice remains government business.
I urge you to get behind this campaign and put pressure on on him to do just that.