Union warns WA's newest prison already at crisis point

Monday 15 Oct 2018

The WA Prison Officers’ Union (WAPOU) warns the State’s newest prison is already at breaking point with serious overcrowding and staffing shortages.

Last Thursday up to 18 male prisoners slept on the floor of the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison (EGRP) as the male population surpassed its 260 bed capacity.

There are currently more than 10 prison officer vacancies at the prison.

WAPOU Secretary Andy Smith said the staffing issues at EGRP will get worse in the coming weeks, with no short-term plan to replace the many prison officers who are set to be transferred back to the metropolitan area.

“Despite already being over capacity and under resourced, the Department inexplicably continues to send prisoners to EGRP to participate in programs,” he said.

“We don’t have to look back too far to see what can happen in overcrowded and understaffed prisons, this creates a very volatile and dangerous environment.

“The union is calling on the State Government to immediately address the issue of attraction and retention of officers at EGRP to ensure it is staffed safely.

“If immediate action is not taken, units at EGRP will be forced to close to allow for the safe running of the facility, which will ultimately place more strain on other prisons in the State.

“The union commends the dedication and tremendous work effort of prison officers at the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison who are faced with these challenging conditions and continue to remain professional. These officers deserve the right to feel safe while at work,” Mr Smith said.