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Acacia prison praised by independent report

Date: 17 May 2011

Serco Australia has welcomed a report into Acacia prison which says it is "without doubt one of the best performing prisons in Western Australia, if not the best and it is also providing a financial saving to the State."

The inspection, carried out in November 2010 by the Western Australian Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services, found that the prison delivers "high quality services". It has a good record on security and safety; staff are doing good work to reduce re-offending; other prisons can learn from Acacia's innovations; it is transparent and accountable; its prison health services are the best in the State; and the establishment continues to improve.

Serco Australia Chief Executive David Campbell praised staff at Acacia for their achievements.

"I'm absolutely delighted with this report and I would like to thank the Inspector for his comments.

"This is a great credit to our staff. Their hard work, positive attitude and great ideas have made Acacia what it is. You might not hear about them very often, but they are unsung heroes who do vital work to make our communities safer. They keep prisoners secure as they serve out their sentences, and use that time constructively to reduce the chance that they will re-offend on release.

"The report found that we are not complacent, that we are continuously trying to improve. It's pointed out areas where we need to get better, we have taken those recommendations on board and are already working to address them.

"I'm very proud of the whole team at Acacia and I'm pleased the Inspector is giving them the credit they deserve today."
Treatment of prisoners, management of social visits and standards of accommodation were all commended by the report. The inspection team found that prisoners were treated with decency and respect at Acacia Prison and the prison strikes a good balance between security, supervision and a family-focused approach for social visits.

Acacia also presented the best prison health service in Western Australia. Areas of particular strength include provision of a full-time doctor, dentist and dental nurse; a focus on services for Aboriginal prisoners including employment of an Aboriginal nurse; and health promotion and education initiatives for prisoners.

The report stated that Acacia Prison excels in the area of case management where prisoners are given support from staff to prepare them for release and successful reintegration into the community. Innovative education programs introduced at Acacia Prison aimed at resettling prisoners once they are released were also rated highly.

Sustainable initiatives at the prison were applauded, as they are not only based on direct benefit to the environment, but also on the potential rehabilitation benefits to prisoners and the community.

The Inspector commended WA Department of Corrective Services and Serco for Acacia's transparency and accountability, saying "in Western Australia and nationally Acacia sets a benchmark".

The report also identified a number of areas where improvements were needed. There had been a number of incidents where prisoners had climbed onto roofs, and the prison has developed an action plan to tackle this. The Inspector also called for 30 hours of constructive activity per week for each prisoner, recognising that Serco had made significant investment in this area, which he described as a "persistent challenge" affecting most prisons.

Media contact:
Emma Needham - Tel: + 61 (0) 400 266 659

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Last Updated: 17 May 2011