Call for community volunteers to support prisoners at Albany Regional Prison

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Inspector of Custodial Services Eamon Ryan at Albany Regional Prison.
Camera IconInspector of Custodial Services Eamon Ryan at Albany Regional Prison. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Community-minded people from all walks of life are being urged to sign up for a volunteer role to support the wellbeing of inmates and staff at Albany Regional Prison.

Known as independent visitors, volunteers are appointed to WA prisons and detention centres to meet with prisoners and staff to listen to their concerns and monitor the services at each prison.

Reporting to the Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services, independent visitors can help provide a sympathetic ear and independently report on issues raised by prisoners.

Inspector of Custodial Services Eamon Ryan visited Albany Regional Prison this week to undertake a three-yearly inspection of the facility.

He said the OICS was calling for at least two new volunteers to take on independent visitor roles in Albany.

The volunteers are required to visit Albany Regional Prison at least once every three months to meet with staff and prisoners.

“Up until recently we had two amazing community volunteers that were operating in Albany,” he said. “We are really putting a call out for community-minded individuals who may be willing to step forward and volunteer.

“It is interesting and fascinating, so someone who is a community-minded, community-spirited person who is genuinely interested in people, it would be an ideal opportunity.”

No qualifications are required and Mr Ryan urged people of all backgrounds to apply.

“Often our independent visitors say one of the things they find most valuable is the voice they provide to prisoners,” he said.

“It is really someone who has an open mind, has a good set of ears, is a good listener, is good with people, they can communicate with a diverse range of people and are genuinely interested in listening and then providing as best as they can support and a voice for prisoners.”

Once new volunteers are selected by the Corrective Services Minister, they are provided with training and guidance before jumping into the role.

To volunteer, contact the OICS at oics.wa.gov.au or corporate@oics. wa.gov.au.

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