The McGowan Government’s fight against methylamphetamine and other drug addiction has taken another step forward with the opening of the $22.5 million Mallee Rehabilitation Centre at Casuarina Prison today.
The centre is the first alcohol and other drug treatment facility for male prisoners in Western Australia and it will house up to 128 prisoners who want to break the cycle of addiction and drug-related offending.
Experienced service providers Palmerston Association and the Wungening Aboriginal Corporation will deliver the alcohol and other drug (AOD) recovery program at the new centre.
The Solid Steps program is based on a culturally safe, modified therapeutic community model that is similar to the program run at the Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison for Women, which has remained drug free since it opened two years ago.
There are more than 30 male prisoners already signed up to the new Casuarina treatment program.
Drug and alcohol addictions were found to have been at the heart of their past criminal offending and they have at least nine months of their sentence to serve.
Those taking part will live in a separate, customised unit isolated from the mainstream prison population where they will undertake intensive counselling and education focused on their recovery and successful reintegration back into the community.
They will be subject to regular drug testing and cell searches and have to commit to the principles of safety, trustworthiness and respect. Any breaches could jeopardise their place in the program.
Mallee Rehabilitation Centre prison officers were carefully selected and have undertaken rigorous AOD training provided by the Mental Health Commission to enable them to take on the additional role of case managing and supporting the program participants.
The Mallee Rehabilitation Centre is part of the McGowan Government’s $96.3 million expansion plan for Casuarina Prison and the $244.8 million Methamphetamine Action Plan to address drug-addition driven offending.
As stated by Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
“The opening of the Mallee Rehabilitation Centre marks the delivery of another McGowan Government election commitment to tackle the scourge of illicit drugs in our communities and prisons.
“This new $22.5 million drug treatment centre is a first for male prisoners and will deliver a unique therapeutic program to address addiction as well as possibly related mental health and behavioural issues.
“The hope is that by addressing an offender’s alcohol and drug addiction it will stop the cycle of addiction-driven offending.
“The treatment program will also extend to the community and offenders will be provided with ongoing support after they have served their prison term or made parole.
“We have had remarkable success with the Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison for Women, which has remained drug-free since it was opened two years ago.
“Wandoo has helped more than 100 female offenders address their drug addictions, which in many cases, had plagued them for decades.
“We want to replicate that excellent result at the new Mallee Rehabilitation Centre for men, but it will be a tough road and it will be up to the offenders to take charge of their lives and find a new direction.
“I wish the staff, service providers and the participants the best of luck with this Western Australian first and hope the program makes a lasting difference to the lives of male prisoners and their families.”