The 2013 inspection of Acacia was very complex, encompassing the operations and practices of the state’s largest prison, the management of the contract and the 387 bed expansion project. Overall the prison was still performing very well but, in some areas, Serco’s performance had slipped when compared with the high levels seen in the 2010 inspection. Some slippage was occurring because the expansion project was diverting energy and focus from the ‘here and now’, although this was not the only factor.
The expansion project was of a scale and complexity that had no parallel in Western Australia, with more parties involved than other prison expansion in the past. The expansion provided an opportunity to use the new areas for specific purposes, with a focus on areas such as mental health, drug and alcohol programs and young people. Ideally, this would have been decided by the Department before the build, however, disappointingly at the time of the inspection Acacia’s future direction was still uncertain.