This is the report of an inspection of Casuarina Prison conducted in late 2016. It concludes that the prison is meeting reasonable expectations in relation to security, and the safety of staff and prisoners. It is, however, over-stretched at almost every point. As a result, despite the best efforts of staff, it is not meeting expectations in relation to prisoner health and support, purposeful activity, rehabilitation or resettlement.

Staff are doing what they can with what they have, but Casuarina is too stretched to meet demand or need. Pressure points include:

• a population increase of 100 per cent in the last ten years, and 22 per cent in the last two years

• serious overcrowding, with almost all prisoners now forced to share single cells

• insufficient investment in supporting infrastructure. There are critical deficiencies in the kitchen and health centre and shortfalls in many other areas.

• a far more transient and less settled population. Over 40% are on remand, and many of the sentenced prisoners are just ‘in transit’ to another prison.

• a growing number of prisoners with serious health and mental health problems

• a growing number of young prisoners for whom there are few opportunities for rehabilitation

• sentenced and remand prisoners routinely sharing cells, in contravention of national and international standards

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