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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

WA prisons boss to retire

The Department of Justice, Corrective Services Commissioner, Tony Hassall, has announced his retirement. 

Mr Hassall has been the Commissioner since March 2017 having had four decades of experience in corrections across the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australian. 

Director General of the Department of Justice, Dr Adam Tomison acknowledged Commissioner Hassall’s achievements during his term in office. 

“In that time there has been significant reform in Corrective Services, refinements to policies and practices and management of an increased prisoner population,” Dr Tomison said. 

“I thank him for the hard work he has put into leading Corrective Services over a very busy, challenging period and I am sure he is justifiably proud of what he has achieved here in Western Australia.”

He said Commissioner Hassall had directed the transformation of operational practices in Corrective Services, reforms in women and youth justice and the significant expansion of the prison estate. 

Mr Hassall said he was proud of the steps that had been taken to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people, advancements in alcohol and other drug rehabilitation in prisons, increased electronic monitoring of offenders in the community and record levels of recruitment. 

“I am pleased that the reform program that I have overseen has meant Corrective Services is now modern and responsive and capable of serving the WA community. Corrective Services is now on the right trajectory to continue improving and meeting the future demands and challenges of the criminal justice system,” Commissioner Hassall said.

Before emigrating to Australia, Commissioner Hassall started his career in England as a prison officer, eventually becoming the governor of one of the largest prisons in Europe.

He later became area manager for Yorkshire and Humberside overseeing 12 prisons and more than 9,000 prisoners.

Commissioner Hassall will retire in early December after more than four decades working in Corrective Services.

“Commissioner Tony Hassall’s retirement in December will leave behind a legacy that has changed prisoners’ lives for the better and will make a significant difference to community safety,” said Corrective Services Minister, Francis Logan.

“I would also like to commend Commissioner Hassall’s handling of indigenous relations during extremely difficult times such as the passing of prisoners in custody.

“The compassion and due care he shows reflect his personal character.

“He has created strong and highly beneficial relations with elders and community groups that are helping to make a significant difference to the lives of young detainees and adult prisoners across the State.

“Internally Commissioner Hassall has made a significant difference to the lives of prisoner officers, community offender management staff and corrective services staff with the hiring of hundreds more prison officers, vocational support officers and community offender staff.

“He is a tireless champion for his staff while also refusing to accept standards that are not of the highest order.

“His leadership will be sorely missed.”

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