Greens table petition - call for reduction of number of women on remand

Today Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren tabled a petition in the Upper House calling for a halt to the creation of a women’s remand facility in Hakea in favour of measures to ensure a reduction in the number of women on remand.

The petition, from the Bandyup Action Group, contained almost 400 signatures calling for the State Government to halt the conversion of Hakea men’s facility into a remand facility for women and instead use the more than $20 million allocated for this to fund bail and legal services for women, in order to reduce the number of women on remand.

Ms MacLaren said she was concerned about the safety of women in Bandyup and the high rate of women imprisoned while waiting for trial.

“The prison is severely overcrowded, understaffed, under-resourced and the needs of the women inside are not being met,” Ms MacLaren said.

“The answer is to reduce the number of women on remand, not build more prison facilities.

“To that end, we must have options available for women, particularly those charged with non-violent offences, so that bail can be accommodated for them.

“Bail is not just about having enough money to pay. You also need a fixed address and be able to meet other conditions which may be imposed by the magistrate.

“The Greens therefore oppose the construction of more remand facilities and call for the money to instead be spent on a women-only hostel that can provide safe, secure accommodation and a fixed address for women on bail.

“More women on remand is not the answer. I call upon the Government to see the light and address this ongoing, tragic situation without further delay.”