WA Govt: First of its kind alcohol and other drug treatment prison announced

/, LSAWA Media Statements, Public news/WA Govt: First of its kind alcohol and other drug treatment prison announced

The Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia (LSAWA) is proud to lead the way in acknowledging the role Industry Associations like ours should play in the development of responsible policies and tools that deliver better outcomes for those in our community who cannot or will not consume alcohol responsibly.

It is therefore well within our remit to congratulate Corrective Services Minister Fran Logan and Premier Mark McGowan for the announcement below, committing $120 million to an alcohol and drug treatment prison.

In days gone by, the Association would have been warned off commenting on issues like this, but the Board and Management of the LSAWA are a new breed of leaders who see little point in countering the extreme “no alcohol” paternalism of our detractors with the equally nonsensical approach of denial that our industry has been guilty of for too long.

Instead, we openly accept that there are some people in every society who – for many reasons – cannot or will not behave within acceptable limits in every area of life, including the consumption of alcohol. So rather than pretending otherwise, the new leadership of the LSAWA is working hard to be more proactive in collaboratively developing tools and systems that help those who can’t or won’t help themselves and reduce the use of blunt, discriminatory tools that assume the worst of everyone and reduce overall community morale.

Which is precisely why we publicly support the Premier and Minister Logan for the commitment in their Media Statement below to work with the individuals who abuse one of the most enjoyable privileges of adulthood in our great State.

  • Australia’s first of its kind alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment prison for men expected to open in 2019
  • AOD prison will address cycle of drug-related crime
  • Male facility will be the second AOD treatment prison in WA after the female AOD treatment prison opens in the second half of 2018
  • Another commitment met in the McGowan Labor Government’s Meth Action Plan

The McGowan Labor Government will establish an alcohol and other drug treatment prison for male offenders at Casuarina Prison to help break the cycle of drug-related crime.

The treatment prison will be housed at one of four new units to be built at Casuarina Prison, as part of the McGowan Labor Government’s $120 million investment to increase the State’s under strain custodial capacity.

Treating the causes of alcohol and other drug addiction in a dedicated facility has been required in Western Australia for many years, after the State was plunged into a methamphetamine crisis under the previous Liberal National Government.

The male treatment prison will operate as a standard prison, but will include specialised treatment programs and management standards to help address drug addiction, which can lead to criminal behaviour.

Prisoners will also be transitioned to other programs upon release to continue attempts at changing behaviours and motivations to use drugs.

These release programs, and the treatment in prison, will help to keep the community safe as offenders address the causes of their alcohol and drug addiction that can influence criminal behaviour.

New search and drug testing technology will also be employed at the treatment prison, as well as the drug-detecting dog squad.

The prison will be the second AOD facility after a female treatment prison comes online in the second half of this year at the existing Wandoo Reintegration Facility, which is returning to the public sector.

The construction of the new Casuarina units, including the new treatment prison, is expected to generate up to 1,000 jobs over the next two years.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“In just under a year since being elected, my Government has moved swiftly to start addressing the significant task of bringing our State’s meth crisis under control.

“We have increased maximum sentences for meth traffickers, and invested more than $131 million for the establishment of a Meth Border Force; roadside alcohol and drug testing; rehabilitation centres in the South-West and several other measures.

“Now we have honoured another election commitment with the announcement of a new treatment facility at Casuarina Prison for men.

“It is by focusing on the three pillars of prevention, protection and prosecution that my Government can help our State free itself of this inherited meth crisis.”

Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Fran Logan:

“We are embarking on a first of its kind approach to treating prisoners with alcohol and drug abuse issues.

“These prisoners will have to want to turn their lives around and we will provide them with support, but it will require their commitment.

“These models of care are being developed based on national and international best practice, but there will be scope to adjust them as we progress with these new treatment prisons.

“There are alcohol and drug abuse programs throughout the WA’s prison estate, but the overcrowding issues left to us by the previous government affect program delivery when you simply have too many people in a facility originally designed for fewer prisoners.

“We are creating not only the necessary space with these new units at Casuarina, but also the kind of facilities that will help prisoners address their alcohol and other drug abuse issues more effectively.

“In the end, this is about making our communities safer by trying to address the causes of alcohol and drug addiction that lead to criminal behaviour.”