Plan in place to improve safety and welfare at Banksia Hill

22 June 2023

The Cook Labor Government has announced a range of measures to enhance safety and welfare at Banksia Hill Detention Centre. This includes a review of infrastructure needs in Western Australia's youth justice system and measures to increase staffing.
  • Infrastructure review to determine the State's long-term youth detention needs 
  • Additional prison officers to improve safety for Banksia Hill staff and detainees, allowing Youth Custodial Officers to focus on rehabilitation
  • New plan being developed in consultation with Indigenous leaders
  • Aboriginal mediators to be appointed to assist with incident de-escalation
  • Specialised medical services to be delivered through new Aboriginal health provider
  • Telethon Kids Institute to provide expertise on the assessment and management of children and young people with neurodevelopmental impairment


The evaluation will be undertaken by the Department of Justice, in conjunction with the Department of Premier and Cabinet, and Treasury, to assess the State's current and planned youth custodial assets.

It will investigate whether current facilities are fit-for-purpose and determine if improvements or additional infrastructure is required to meet long-term needs.

Safety at Banksia Hill will be enhanced for staff and young people with additional Prison Officers to provide greater security and enable Youth Custodial Officers to focus on rehabilitation, mentoring and the delivery of a new model of care.

Legislative changes will be introduced to enable this, as well as specialised training and working with children checks for prison officers employed at the Centre.

The additional staffing will improve safety and security, and increase out-of-cell hours for those in detention.

Consultation has commenced with Indigenous leaders who will provide advice as a new model of care is adopted.

Aboriginal mediators are also being engaged to assist with mentoring and the safe resolution of critical incidents. This is in direct response to calls from Aboriginal community members to enable Elders to provide this assistance.

Furthermore, the Department of Justice will appoint an Aboriginal health service to provide culturally appropriate care for young people at the facility.

Discussions are also underway with Telethon Kids Institute to provide its expertise and advice on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and other neurodevelopmental conditions. This will help to inform a model of care where an individual's circumstances and needs are clearly understood by staff and health providers, enabling for the creation of tailored management plans.

Law changes to require those who reach the age of 18, while in juvenile detention, to be transferred to adult prison passed Parliament this week.

These amendments will increase the separation of adults and children in youth detention, further improving safety and security at Banksia Hill Detention Centre.


Comments attributed to Premier Roger Cook:

"Above all else, Banksia Hill must be made safe for staff and children in detention.

"This is our number one priority because once the facility is safe and secure, we will be able to properly engage the young people in rehabilitation, education and positive activities.

"We know there is no quick fix. We are dealing with the most complex situations in the corrective services space.

"If we are going to improve the situation, we must get the basics right first – this means a boost to staffing and improvements to infrastructure.

"We are also enhancing Banksia Hill's focus on health, welfare and Aboriginal engagement services to ensure the young people are afforded every opportunity to improve their lives and leave custody with good prospects for the future."


Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Paul Papalia:

"These immediate actions will improve safety, security and welfare at Banksia Hill.

"Banksia Hill was, and can be, a world leading facility but recent disturbances, which have made the facility unsafe, must be prevented from happening again.

"The infrastructure review will investigate whether our current and planned youth justice facilities are fit-for-purpose, or whether additional action is needed.

"Prison Officers will provide another layer of security, creating a safe environment for Youth Custodial Officers to focus their efforts on education and rehabilitation.

"Having a safe, well-staffed facility means detainees can be afforded more out-of-cell time to engage with mentors, play sport, participate in education and vocational training, and take part in rehabilitation programs.

"They will be able to spend more time outdoors, where they can exercise, learn and engage with others to change their lives for the better.

"A safer and more secure Banksia Hill means rehabilitation of young offenders will be more likely.

"We are very keen to work with stakeholders, in particular the Aboriginal community, to deliver improved welfare, health and rehabilitation services - and we look forward to developing partnerships through these new initiatives."