‘Dangerous’ Perth prison overcrowded and understaffed

Hakea Prison. Photo: SWI Fencing
Hakea Prison. Photo: SWI Fencing

MORE assaults, deaths and escapes will occur if serious staffing shortages aren’t dealt with at Perth’s Hakea Prison, the WA Prison Officers’ Union says.

In the past five months Hakea has had four deaths in custody, numerous serious assaults on prison officers and a prisoner breakout, the union says.

The prison currently holds 1500 inmates but the existing staffing agreement is based on a maximum of 1000, leaving the facility about 50 officers short on any given day.

Secretary Andy Smith said the union had been working closely with the department of justice to sign off on a new staffing agreement.

“The new staffing agreement aligns with the current prison population, but this delayed agreement is way overdue and is causing tensions at the prison to be at an all-time high,” he said.

“The prison is overcrowded and understaffed, it is an extremely dangerous environment and will only get worse if the department doesn’t act now.”

Mr Smith said once the agreement was signed, the government must prioritise transferring or employing more prison officers.

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