Western Australia Minister for Corrective Services Christian Porter
Changes To Juvenile And Adult Prisoner Transportation
Victor P Taffa
The Department of Corrective Services will take back responsibility from WA Police for the transportation of juvenile offenders in regional Western Australia next November.
Police have held the responsibility of transporting juveniles in regional areas since signing a memorandum of understanding between the DCS and the Police in 2000.
Corrective Services Minister Christian Porter said the decision would mean the Police would no longer have to transport juveniles over long distances in vehicles not designed for long distance transportation.
“A transfer of funding from WA Police will allow DCS to employ additional custodial officers to manage the transportation of juveniles.” Mr. Porter said.
“They will be specially trained to be able to deal with juvenile offender issues, thereby enhancing the facilitation of a safe, secure and decent transportation system.”
“The changes will give DCS control over recruitment, selection, training and supervision of staff to ensure high standards are maintained. Importantly, this will also free up Police to focus on core Policing responsibilities in regional WA.”
Minister Porter said DCS and WA Police had reached an agreement whereby police would provide the initial transport to an agreed regional hub, with DCS public sector staff providing the remainder of the escort by either road or air.
All Police Stations within a four-hour drive of Perth would be considered hubs. In more remote regions, hubs would be those centres with appropriate holding, transport and airstrip facilities.
In readiness for the expiration of the current Court Security and Custodial Services contract with G4S in July 2011, DCS will also begin testing the market for a new contract using a mixed service delivery model of public and private sector resources.
This September, the DCS is expected to call for re-tenders for the contract. The nature and scope of the contract is envisaged to be substantially different from the previous model under which the former Labor government allowed for the private sector delivery of almost all prisoner transport.
“The Government’s preferred option is to outsource the component of the Court Security and Custodial Services transport that represents regular scheduled travel between Police facilities, prisons and courts but keep some or all of the ad hoc prisoner transportation services such as medical escorts, funeral escorts and family visits in the public sector.” Mr. Porter said.
“Contracting out to the private sector for the volume and predictable services such as inter-prison transfers and court runs is likely to be the most cost-efficient model due to the competitiveness in the market for such a contract.”
“With the adoption of all changes recommended in relation to prisoner transport by the Coroner, we expect the contract can be maintained to ensure the highest possible standard of service delivery.” Mr. Porter said.
“However ad hoc movements are difficult to manage due to the variable demand for services and so it is our view these might be best managed within the public sector, particularly if market testing fails to demonstrate value for money in this area.”
“Keeping ad hoc movements managed by the public sector may also allow for greater through-care of prisoners by Prison Staff in what are, by their very nature, unpredictable prisoner transfer arrangements.” Mr. Porter said.