Essay Example on Western Australia WA through the Department of Corrective Services

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The state of Western Australia WA through the Department of Corrective Services DCS currently manages over 5 000 adults at 17 prison facilities The following facilities are the main prisons in the state Hakea Prison minimum maximum security Hakea Prison takes prisoners who have been remanded in custody whilst awaiting their appearance in court and prisoners who have been recently sentenced The facility is used to process and asses prisoners before placing them at other prisons Hakea also has a 15 bed crisis care facility for at risk prisoners who require specialized treatment or support intervention Capacity 1 225 adult males Casuarina Prison largest maximum security Used particularly for long term prisoners Capacity 1 032 adult males Acacia Prison largest medium security Acacia is one of 2 privately run prisons in the state operated by Serco Capacity 1 513 adult males Visitations are may be booked by in one hour time slots on at least 4 days a week at most prisons excluding Good Friday and Christmas Day

The state also provides regular public transport to and from the prison for visitors i Legislative Framework Corrective services are under state jurisdiction as opposed to federal and as such each state has enacted legislation which comprehensively provides for the management control and security within prisons The principal statute in WA is the Prisons Act 1981 WA PA which is consolidated by the subsidiary legislation Prison Regulation 1982 WA PR The PA focuses on management and control within prisons whilst the PR relates more to the procedural mechanisms of prisons Prison authorities in Australia possess considerable discretion in the exercise of their statutory powers especially in the proclamation of internal guidelines which are generally not made public Below is a non exhaustive list of the statutory powers outlined by the PA PA s 3 1 defines the Chief Executive Officer as the CEO of the government department Department of Corrective Services PA pt V provides for the management control and security within prisons PA s 35 5 the CEO may with ministerial approval make rules for the management control and security of either a particular prisons or prisons in general

PA s 36 3 Superintendent may issue orders to officers to ensure the maintenance of good governance good order and security PA s 37 Superintendent may issue written standing orders to prison officers for the management and routine of the prison PA s 14 1 c All prison officers must comply with any lawful order or direction given by both the Superintendent or CEO Statutory rights of prisoners PA s 83 leaves of absence are permitted with the following objectives o a the rehabilitation of prisoners and the successful reintegration of prisoners into the community and o b the compassionate or humane treatment of prisoners and their families and o c the facilitation of the provision of medical or health services to prisoners and o d the furthering of the interests of justice PA s 83 3 a when read in conjunction with PR r 54D e f permits a leave of absence to maintain cultural ties and obligations or for the observance of special beliefs or practices This section is especially important for incarcerated Indigenous people who are often imprisoned several hundred kilometers from their communities PA s 95 2 Charges the CEO with the implementation of activity programmes which focus on health wellbeing acquisition of skills to improve likelihood of employment post release maintenance of family structures opportunities for employment

Subsection 3 states prisoners cannot be compelled to join any such programmes or activities PA s 95A CEO has a direct responsibility to ensure all prisoners have access to adequate medical treatment PA s 95C establishes the role of a Chief Health Officers who is required to report directly to the CEO on the state health and hygiene standards with prisons PA s 95E ensures a right to engage in and observe religious practices ii International Standards By ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 ICCPR the Federal Government of Australia undertook an obligation to ensure any person whose rights or freedoms as recognised by the ICCPR are violated shall have an effective remedy 

Within the ICCPR there a several provisions particularly relevant to prisoners ICCPR art 7 the prohibition on torture and cruel inhumane or degrading punishment ICCPR art 10 para 1 the obligation to treat prisoners with humanity and dignity ICCPR art 10 para 2 a the obligation to separate remand from convicted prisoners and ICCPR art 10 para 2 b the obligation to separate juvenile and adult prisoners As it is a treaty the ICCPR has no automatic affect upon domestic Australian law and it has been held by domestic and federal courts that it does not form part of Australian law However if an individual believes any of their rights under the ICCPR have been violated they have a right to petition to the Human Rights Commission of the UN Furthermore in circumstances of uncertainty as to the common law or statutory interpretation Australian courts are increasingly likely to use international instruments to resolve ambiguity Australia is also a signatory to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1984 Whilst the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners developed by the UN does not have treaty status its provisions have guided the formulation of prison practices in Australia None of these guidelines are enforceable via legal mechanisms but they are referenced by those responsible for monitoring prisoner grievances



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