Western Australia’s first drug rehabilitation prison, Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison, has opened, and just last week, the first 10 women to get through the program have graduated, certificates in hand.
The Prison’s Therapeutic Community (TC) program is a six-month program that requires all prisoners to participate in group therapy and counseling sessions daily. The goal of the program is to stop prisoners from addiction, helping prisoners get clean before their release rather than entering drug rehabs or being arrested in the future.
Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison was repurposed, formerly being a men’s reintegration prison thanks to the State Government’s meth action plan. The conversion occurred last year, and prisoners must have a drug addiction that has been associated with their program. Prisoners must be a self-refer and also must prove to the prison that they’re motivated to be rehabilitated.
One prisoner, who goes by the name of Ashley, claims that the prison was her most powerful experience. She returned to the prison for her graduation, and she voluntarily became one of the first prisoners after being in jail for around a year.
Women that have time remaining on their sentence when they have graduated from Wandoo will return back to a general prison population to finish their time.
The whole day at Wandoo consists of therapy rather than a couple hours of sessions per week. Six out of the seven women that have graduated went into the recovery program after their release to ensure that they do not return to their addictive ways.
Wandoo Prison’s manager, Peta Hughes, claims that other countries have been offering rehabilitation in prison for years and that there is proof that the system works. People are exiting prison systems in other countries, going through similar prison programs, and not returning.
Construction is already underway for a men’s prison that will also offer similar programs.
The women’s facility can treat up to 77 low and medium-security inmates at a time, but there are just 24 women in the prison. Corrective Services Minister Fran Logan claims that there have been more than 180 requests from women to enter the prison.
The prison has ruled out double-bunking, so capacity for this number of women will not be possible.
Women that do apply to enter into the rehab prison will have to have their sustainability assessed. Even security issues and their desire for treating their addiction will be assessed.