The West

Privatisation plan for prisons
Options: Privatisation of prisons under consideration. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

The privatisation of prisons and electronic monitoring of dangerous sex offenders is being investigated in a bid to save money, a leaked government document has revealed.

The internal Department of Corrective Services document also identifies cost issues related to the privately run Wandoo prison, which remains only just over half full more than a year after the Serco-operated jail for young men opened.

It suggests Wandoo, converted from a remand centre for juveniles, should be filled to capacity or closed.

The document identifies the privatisation of prisons, GPS monitoring of offenders, the prisons drug detection unit and jail gatehouses as areas of potential savings to be investigated.

Contracting out the State's only detention centre for juvenile offenders is also flagged, but is not recommended "at this stage".

Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis said he could not comment on a document he had not seen and which he understood was leaked internal information canvassing a wide range of options.

He said it would be irresponsible to rule in or rule out options until they had been properly developed, costed, considered and presented to him by the department.

The Opposition and WA Prison Officers Union said further privatisation should not be considered in the corrective services system until there was a full and open inquiry into the Government's prison transport contract with Serco.

The contract with Serco, which also runs Acacia prison, has been questioned after a series of escapes and alleged failings by the British firm.

Shadow corrective services minister Paul Papalia said the Barnett Government appeared to be covering up Serco's alleged failures and demonising the public service so it could advance a secret privatisation agenda.

WA Prison Officers Union secretary John Welch said privatisation would not provide a better service or cost savings.

Mr Welch said further privatisation before an inquiry into the Government's existing contract would risk the safety of the public and prison staff.

The West Australian

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