The McGowan Labor Government has moved to address the uncertainty surrounding Broome Regional Prison by announcing funding of $1.4 million to begin planning for a new facility.
It will be a modern prison in line with best practice and include cultural support, as well as rehabilitative and educational opportunities.
The new prison will be outside the town, but a location has yet to be determined.
The current Broome prison was left in a state of disrepair after the previous Liberal National Government flip-flopped on closing the facility in 2015.
It was forced to leave it open because it had no plan on how to manage the high number of remand and sentenced prisoners in the Kimberley, but it was left with inadequate funding and fell into disrepair.
The McGowan Labor Government immediately invested $2.7 million in its first Budget to fix the appalling state of the prison including prisoner accommodation and prison infrastructure, and has now embarked on planning for a new facility.
As stated by Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
“The Kimberley region needs a new prison that can provide the kind of cultural and educational opportunities that have been shown to benefit prisoners on country.
“There has been considerable work at the current prison to bring it up to an acceptable standard after years of gross neglect by the previous Liberal National Government, but it needs to be replaced.
“The $1.4 million in this year’s Budget will go towards planning a modern facility with the kind of rehabilitative measures that are on offer at West Kimberley Regional Prison and the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison.
“This new facility will be outside the town and will strengthen the current good relationship with elders and community organisations to use culture and healing for the rehabilitation of prisoners.”
As stated by Treasurer Ben Wyatt:
“Closing the current Broome prison and the Government’s commitment to build a new prison out of town offers huge opportunities for the Broome community and the Yawuru native title holders. A new use for the land the prison now occupies in a pivotal part of Broome has potential to enrich the town’s built heritage and economy.
“The Government’s plans to build the new prison on Yawuru country, in partnership with Yawuru and the wider Aboriginal community of the West Kimberley, will follow global best practice in restorative justice and rehabilitation.”
As stated by Kimberley MLA Josie Farrer:
“The Government’s commitment to work with Aboriginal people to design and build the new Broome prison will be innovative and visionary.
“Our aim is to build a world-class modern prison facility but more importantly to build a way of working that aims to build capacity, educate and gives hope so that people can have good lives and not end up in prison.”