Staff resignations and terminations double at Broome Regional Prison in 2022

Cain AndrewsBroome Advertiser
Staff terminations doubled at Broome Regional Prison in 2022.
Camera IconStaff terminations doubled at Broome Regional Prison in 2022. Credit: Broome Advertiser / Sam Jones/RegionalHUB

WA’s worst-staffed prison, the dilapidated century-old Broome Regional Prison, saw staff resignations and terminations double last year, according to numbers disclosed in Parliament on February 14.

The numbers provided by Minister for Corrective Services Matthew Swinbourn in response to questions from North Metropolitan Region MLC Peter Collier revealed there were 11 staff resignations at the prison in 2022, compared with six resignations in 2021.

Other terminations — which could include dismissals, ill-health retirements, secondment ends, contract ends and death — doubled from five to 10.

West Kimberley Regional Prison also had a rise in resignations, with 13 in 2022 — four more than in 2021.

It comes after the Advertiser revealed in October Broome Regional Prison was the worst-staffed prison in the State, with one in every five jobs at the prison unfilled.

Derby’s West Kimberley Regional Prison and the Pilbara’s Roebourne Prison also suffered, with 12 per cent vacancy rates.

The numbers dwarfed those of other WA prisons, with Casuarina Prison — the largest in the State — and Bunbury Regional Prison sitting at 3 per cent.

Staffing in Kimberley prisons has been a long-running point of contention, with the WA Prison Officers’ Union issuing a safety warning over critical staffing levels at Broome Regional Prison last August as public-sector workers around WA walked off the job in protest at the State Government’s wages policy.

“We’re short-staffed, we’re underpaid and we’re expected to do the job of several people,” West Kimberley Regional Prison senior officer Paul Morris said at the time.

But according to a Department of Justice spokesperson, current staffing levels are sufficient to manage the existing prisoner population in Broome and West Kimberley prisons “safely and securely”.

A fresh cohort of prison officers is also on its way, according to the department spokesperson, who said an additional 144 prison officers would be trained this year, with the first cohort starting training in January.

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