Article Title

The Privatisation of Prisoner Transfer Services in Western Australia. What Can we Learn from the Ward Case?


In 2008, Aboriginal elder Mr Ward died of heat stroke while being transported in the back of a prison van operated by private security company GSL (now G4S). This article will address the role accountability mechanisms can play in improving correctional and custodial services and whether existing oversight frameworks can provide a proper supervision and quality control of private security operators. It will focus on the key reports issued by Western Australia's Inspector of Custodial Services, the independent office to oversee the prisoner transfer system. Another central source of information will be an examination of the report and recommendations handed down by the Western Australian Coroner Alastair Hope in June 2009. The Hope Report details the numerous failings of the system which led to the Ward tragedy. Both GSL and the Western Australian state government had breached a duty of care to Mr Ward. Further, it remains highly problematical having a range of oversight bodies if elected government is able to simply ignore the subsequent advice. Parliament must therefore remain a central part of the system of political accountability.


Peer-reviewed, private security, accountability, prison transport


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The Authors:

Dr Daniel Baldino

Dr Martin Drum

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