The danger of lax security at WA prisons again highlighted by CCC report

The Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) has today tabled a report in Parliament which again highlights serious issues with security in Western Australia’s prison system.

The Report on corrupt custodial officers and the risks of contraband entering prisons follows the Commission’s Report into inadequate supervision of prisoners whilst in the community that was tabled less than two months ago.

The CCC has identified the State’s prison system as a corruption risk ‘hot spot’ and its investigations have been focussed on pursuing a variety of allegations, including some which are the subject of further reports yet to be tabled in Parliament.

The most current investigation has exposed a disturbing network of prisoners (some of whom are members of outlaw motor cycle gangs), their partners, other relatives, and corrupt custodial officers arranging clandestine meetings and passing around large amounts of cash for anabolic steroids, methylamphetamine, and synthetic cannabis - known as ‘kronic’.

The Report on corrupt custodial officers and the risks of contraband entering prisons details how, when security is lax and opportunities for prisoners to corrupt officers are plenty, it is alarmingly easy for prisoners and organised crime syndicates to groom prison officers.

The investigation revealed that levels of security in the prison were so lax, that getting contraband into prison undetected was as simple as concealing it down the front of an officer’s pants.

The CCC formed an opinion of serious misconduct against two former custodial officers who faced disciplinary action and dismissal from Serco in the aftermath of the Commission’s investigation.

Two former officers at the centre of the investigation possessed and supplied steroids and methylamphetamine to prisoners.

One officer imported steroids into Australia, then smuggled drugs into prison, and accepted bribes. A second officer aided another to corruptly smuggle drugs into Acacia Prison; aided another to accept bribes, and corruptly failed in his duties by not reporting the actions of the first officer.

The CCC's work into corruption risks in the State’s prison system is part of an ongoing joint investigation with the Department of Justice.

The CCC has made a series of recommendations on search and screening procedures in prison, training of custodial officers, drug testing regimes, and managing risks around frontline prion staff, which have been accepted by the Department of Justice. The Commission proposes to report on the implementation of these recommendations in one year.

The Department of Justice has taken action in relation to other officers identified during the investigation but not necessarily named in the Commission’s report.  Names of some officers in the Report have been changed to protect their security and the Commission has not identified the prisoners.

Related resources

Report - Report on corrupt custodial officers and the risks of contraband entering prisons

Media release - The danger of lax security at WA prisons again highlighted by CCC report

Audio - Audio of Hughes and unknown male at second meeting

Transcript - Transcript of audio of Hughes and unknown male at second meeting

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