Western Australia’s Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services (OICS) has marked its 20th anniversary.
The first of its kind in Australia, the Office has helped NSW establish a similar oversight body as well as those in the ACT, Tasmania and Queensland.
Minister for Corrective Services, Francis Logan said the OICS had wide-ranging powers that enabled it to visit any custodial facility unannounced and conduct various investigations.
“The inspector reports to Parliament on their findings and also keeps the public informed of their conclusions and recommendations,” Mr Logan said.
“Having an independent oversight mechanism also helps Australia meet international obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”
He said the OICS inspected every custodial facility in the State and could also be directed by the Minister for Corrective Services to review custodial matters.
“It has tabled 130 inspection reports since 2001 and the office is now on the seventh round of inspections of WA’s custodial facilities,” Mr Logan said.
“The OICS has also conducted 25 reviews of various matters, such as service delivery to prisoners or prisoner management, since 2012.”
The Minister said the inspector’s powers were extensive and provided for unimpeded access to custodial facilities, their records and to prisoners and staff.
“We are continually striving to provide services and rehabilitative programs that will help improve the lives of prisoners and, in turn, the wider society,” Mr Logan said.
“The Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services is an important part of that approach and helps guide Government and the Department to achieve better results,” he said.