Greenough Regional Prison plans fail to eliminate riot risk

Tuesday 21 May 2019

The WA Prison Officers’ Union warns plans to upgrade Greenough Regional Prison will not eliminate risk and will leave it as unsafe as it was prior to the 2018 riot.

WAPOU was told by the department last week how the $12.3 million dollars allocated from this year’s Budget would be spent. The plan would see female prisoners placed back into the same unit in which they were housed before the riot.

WAPOU Secretary Andy Smith said members from Greenough Regional Prison have unanimously rejected the plans.

“This plan is contrary to the assurances we were given post the riot,” he said. 

“$12.3 million dollars is clearly an inadequate amount to address the safety issues at the prison, so instead the department has taken the cheaper unsafe alternative.

“Whilst certain undertakings have been made to improve the fencing between the male and female units, it is ultimately not the concrete wall which would be necessary to eliminate the verbal exchanges between the prisoners.

“Locating women prisoners in the same unit still requires any female entering or leaving the unit to be paraded in front of male prisoners which is not addressing the safety and security of women in the female estate.

“These upgrades don’t address the safety issues, which ultimately contributed to the horrific events at Greenough in July last year.

“If I can liken it to the government buying a brand-new car, handing it over but with no brakes because they were too expensive – it is simply unsafe and not fit for purpose.

“It is extremely disappointing the department failed to consult the prison officers who were subjected to the horrific events that unfolded at Greenough last year.

“Our members who had bricks hurled at them were put at risk, their families and the community in Geraldton, and the female prisoners were put at risk, yet they had no say, and now have been left with a plan that doesn’t eliminate this risk.

“The State Government needs to reconsider its refusal to allocate correct funding to the female estate at Greenough.  The female estate has always been the poor cousin and has never received adequate funding,” Mr Smith said.