Staff at Melaleuca Remand and Reintegration Facility complain about poor standards at new prison

Stock image.
Stock image.

UNDERSTAFFING, poor rostering and poor training are some of the complaints WA Police Prison Officers Union (WAPOU) members have raised about the new Melaleuca Remand and Reintegration Facility just two months after the facility opened.

WAPOU secretary John Welch said staff at the facility, which houses about 120 women prisoners had serious complaints about rosters, training and staffing levels.

According to a survey conducted with union members working at the prison are claims the organisation is not equipped to run an Australian prison.

“Management do not have the knowledge of Australian prisons or the culture to operate this prison. Most of the responsibility has been put onto senior officers due to their lack of knowledge,” an employee who wished to remain anonymous said.

Further claims include understaffing.

“Staffing levels are nothing short of pathetic, especially when it comes to weekends where there can be as little as 12 staff manning the prison. Night shift is ridiculous with only having three staff on,” another anonymous employee said.

Mr Welch said members had reported concerns, which prompted the union’s wider survey.

“I was astonished a how strongly the staff felt,” he said.

“Though the survey we feel Sodexo are not on top of key issues, the rosters are unworkable and significant incidences are not being dealt with.”

Mr Welch said he was concerned the company did not provide the measures required in a maximum security prison.

“Sodexo need to think long and hard about these findings,” he said.

“We want Sodexo to put right these chronic failing and we want to work with them.”

A spokeswoman from Sodexo said the company continued to work closely with employees and their representatives and was resolving issues as they arose with the parties concerned.

“Sodexo is committed to providing a safe environment workplace for our employees and prisoners, and is working closely with the Western Australian Government and the wider community to deliver excellent, ethical and innovative rehabilitative services,” she said.

“Melaleuca continues to ramp up prisoner intake in line with the agreed contract schedule… Sodexo has a long and successful track record of managing and operating facilities in the justice sector internationally, and we continue to work closely with all stakeholders.”

The Department of Corrective Services declined to comment.