A report by the Inspector of Custodial Services described the State’s first therapeutic community for women prisoners as showing early signs of success after 15 months of operation.
"Overall, it is hard not to conclude that what is being achieved at Wandoo is impressive," the report said.
"We saw residents determined to better understand themselves and to gain new tools to self-regulate their behaviours, express themselves, manage their feelings, strengthen their intentions and contribute more effectively to community life."
Commissioner Tony Hassall said the sustained focus of dedicated staff and commitment from the women prisoners meant the unique facility had been drug free since its transition in July 2018.
At the time of the 2019 inspection, there had been 459 applications for placement, 135 had been accepted and 50 women had graduated from the highly structured program.
"I am pleased the Inspector has recognised the early achievements of Wandoo which is a credit to the prison’s management team and our partners from treatment service provider Cyrenian House," Commissioner Hassall said.
Wandoo provides a comprehensive drug management regime for select prisoners who are deemed ready to commence the difficult process of overcoming their addictions.
The unique rehabilitation program also includes weekly drug testing, breath analysis, searching and a regular drug detection dog presence to ensure the women remain safe and drug free.
The Department of Justice, Corrective Services has accepted the 11 recommendations of the report, which was tabled today in State Parliament.
Commissioner Hassall said counselling resources had been increased at Boronia Pre-release Centre for Women, where Wandoo graduates complete their sentences to ensure their rehabilitative journey is supported.
All senior management positions are permanently filled and custodial staff are receiving specialist training to become more involved in the delivery of Wandoo’s therapeutic program.