Serco efficiencies highlighted in WA prison report

Serco has welcomed the final report by the Western Australian Economic Regulation Authority into the WA Prison System, released today. The final report highlighted the need to improve the transparency of the public prison system and ensure that public prisons have incentives for better performance more closely aligned to privately run prisons.

ERA Chairman Stephen King said: “Western Australia currently invests more than $600 million a year to keep prisoners in custody, so it’s important to ensure that taxpayers’ money is well spent.

“Providing information to allow external scrutiny of the public prison system is key to improving performance.

“Currently, little information is available on the performance of public prisons. In contrast, private prisons are held to high standards of transparency and accountability. This includes the publication of annual reports on the performance of private prisons against contractual obligations.”

Dr King said the improvements will contribute to better rehabilitation outcomes, which is in the best interests of the Western Australian community.

“Improved rehabilitation of prisoners means they are less likely to come back into contact with the justice and prison system, reducing the cost burden on taxpayers. Additionally, rehabilitation reduces the social and financial costs on victims of crimes committed by prisoners that have not been rehabilitated,” he said.

The report found that Acacia Prison, run by Serco, was the cheapest prison in the state to run per prisoner population while Wandoo Reintegration Facility delivered the greatest level of measured rehabilitation. Both were the most scrutinised and measured.

The full report is available on the Economic Regulation Authority website.