The female prison in Western Australia holds 260 people. © Government of Western Australia
The female prison in Western Australia holds 260 people. © Government of Western Australia

Sodexo management contract halted early at female prison

13 January 2020

The Melaleuca female prison facility is being returned to Western Australia’s (WA) state management ahead of the end of a contract.

The return to public management follows a report by inspectors showing poor facilities and prisoner services under facilities firm Sodexo, including the lack of a library, gymnasium and recreational facilities.

Sodexo, which signed a contract to run the prison in July 2016, has signed an agreement with the state to transfer management of the Melaleuca Remand and Reintegration Facility to the public sector before the end of its contract with the Department of Justice (DoJ) in 2021.

The transition of the 260-bed prison back to public management will be complete in April 2020, according to the state. 

Francis Logan, minister for emergency services; corrective services at the WA Government, said: “Returning the Melaleuca facility to public hands would provide more options for the management and placement of female prisoners throughout Western Australia's prison estate.

“As part of the transition, there will be an opportunity for members of the Melaleuca workforce to join the WA public sector.”

A 2018 report by the government’s prison inspector arm, the Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services (OICS), found the prison opened too early and that the contract between the DoJ and Sodexo was priced “too low to meet its requirements”.

Budget restrictions resulted in lack of staff and resources, and Melaleuca’s infrastructure was “ill-suited” to supporting both remand and reintegration services, according to the OICS.

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