Success for WA's ground-breaking rehab prison

07 August 2023

Australia's first Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) treatment prison for women has celebrated five years of operation, with figures demonstrating a low level of re-offending among participants.

  • Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison for women celebrates fifth anniversary 
  • Therapeutic approach is breaking the cycle of addiction-driven offending
  • 270 women have graduated from the intensive 28-week program

Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison was established under the Western Australian Government's Methamphetamine Action Plan to break the cycle of substance abuse and drug-related crime.

An intensive 28-week voluntary program is delivered at the prison, alongside therapeutic service provider Cyrenian House.

Participants must confront the emotional and psychological issues driving their addiction, with further support and programs offered as they transition back into the community.

Five more women graduated from the ground-breaking rehabilitation program last week at a special ceremony held at Wandoo.

Since the program began in July 2018, 270 women have graduated and 233 women have been released back into the community.

Figures show that only around 10 per cent of released graduates have committed a new offence.

Statistics confirm that without intervention, more than half of all offenders with AOD challenges reoffend within two years.

Wandoo Prison also has a rigorous daily drug testing regime and has had just one positive test returned in its five years of operation – and none in more than two years.

Following Wandoo's success, a similar drug and alcohol treatment program was established for men at Casuarina Prison's Mallee Rehabilitation Centre.

Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Paul Papalia:

"I would like to congratulate staff, service providers and graduates on the continued success of Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison over five years of operation.

"We now have 270 women who have taken the life-changing steps to break their addictions and the damaging cycle of drug-related criminal offending.

"Many of the women who have completed the program have gained housing, employment and reconnected with family, including their own children.

"Our investment in the transformation of Wandoo into a ground-breaking rehabilitation facility has produced outstanding results for both the graduates and broader Western Australian community."