THE State Government has confirmed it will forge ahead with plans to take the reins of the Wandoo Reintegration Facility, repurposing the Murdoch prison for drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
The decision comes despite Inspector of Custodial Services Neil Morgan earlier this year praising the Serco-run facility for having the best prison offender management model in the state.
Established in 2008, the 78-bed facility has catered for young men aged 18-28 since administrative control of the facility was handed to private operator Serco in late 2012.
In a report released in April, Mr Morgan wrote that Wandoo’s offender management model should be used as a benchmark for other WA facilities.
“The decision to target specific services at young men was a good one and Serco has met or exceeded reasonable expectations,” he said.
“In short, there is no performance reason why Wandoo should not continue to operate along current lines.”
Ahead of the March election Premier Mark McGowan indicated that he intended to take control of the facility and on Sunday announced he would follow through with plans to transform Wandoo into a first-of-its-kind dedicated drug and alcohol rehabilitation prison for women.
“Bringing this facility back into public hands will save taxpayers’ money and allow us to transform Wandoo into WA’s first rehab prison,” he said.
“This is an important part of our Meth Action Plan, to address the devastating impact of meth in our community.
“The drug and alcohol rehabilitation prison will ensure those who break the law because of addiction and substance abuse will be kept away from the society they harmed but will be given the rehabilitation they need.
“We have to stop the revolving door of reoffending when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction, particularly with meth.
The Wandoo Reintegration Facility will be transferred back into public hands on May 1 next year and will be operated by the Department of Justice.
Wandoo’s minimum-security 18 to 28-year-old male prisoners will be transferred to other facilities.