In the lead up to this inspection the Office had expected a positive change in operations at Broome. Liaison visits and Independent Visitor reports had been positive, there had been large expenditure on the site’s facilities, extra staffing had been put in place, and there had been reduced complaints from prisoners and staff.
The inspection findings were more positive, however there remained several concerns. Those that were considered to have impacted on the prison the most were:
- That the new buildings and structures were an improvement on the old. It was also found that some maintenance and design issues still remained and impacted on the operations of the prison.
- The improvements and changes in management and cultural issues were attributed to the appointment of a new Superintendent in 2010. These changes needed time to establish themselves before being properly assessed.
- The scheduled opening of West Kimberley Regional Prison (in Derby) in mid-2012 clouded the future of Broome Regional Prison and the role it would play. Staff were unsure of their futures, the prison was unsure of its role going forward and there was a lack of Departmental strategic planning.
These issues and the uncertainty that came with them not only were seen to affect the prison during the inspection but also increased the risk that the prison would revert to underperformance. The uncertainty the staff was experiencing risked disillusionment and disengagement the longer time passed without decisions being made.