Albany prison riot adds to overcrowding woes

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
Albany Regional Prison.
Camera IconAlbany Regional Prison. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Albany Regional Prison’s response unit was required to quell a riot which damaged prison cells in what the WA Prison Officers’ Union claims will further add to the overcrowding problem across the State.

The riot, involving less than 10 prisoners last Wednesday night, was brought under control in two hours, causing damage to lights, windows and a security grille.

No prisoners or prison officers were injured.

The WAPOU claims the request of two prisoners to be transferred to a Perth prison was rejected, leading to the riot.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


“The union understands the two prisoners involved sought to be moved to a prison in Perth to be closer to family but due to overcrowding and no available beds their request was rejected,” secretary Andy Smith said.

“This prompted the pair to try and manipulate the system by causing a riot that damaged prison infrastructure. Several cells are now unable to be used, adding to the overcrowding problem experienced throughout the State.”

Mr Smith said the Special Operation Group was not required because Albany’s own highly trained response unit safely quelled the incident.

“WAPOU commends the prison officers involved for acting in a highly professional manner and bringing the situation under control quickly and safely,” he said.

“Overcrowded prisons create a dangerous and volatile environment within which prison officers are required to work on a daily basis.”

A Department of Justice spokeswoman said the disturbance involved fewer than 10 prisoners, describing it as “minor”.

“At all times they were contained within their cell block and did not leave it at any stage until the incident was safely contained by the Albany Security Unit,” she said.

“Damage, mainly to a security grille, fluorescent lights and windows, was minor. No prisoners or staff members were injured.”

The incident comes after five prison guards were allegedly assaulted by three inmates in March when a riot caused close to $15,000 damage. Three prisoners were charged with a total of 19 offences, with charges including assaulting a public officer and criminal damage by fire.

The significant damage bill was caused after CCTV, fridges, televisions, toasters, lights and windows were damaged and mattresses, sheets and clothing were set on fire.

Last month the Inspector of Custodial Services described the prison as “under pressure” and “overcrowded” after revealing the prisoner population had doubled in the past 18 months.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails