Women's imprisonment and recidivism: An illustrative analysis of Boronia Women's Pre-Release Centre (Western Australia) and progressive/open prison systems in Norway and Sweden

Cheryl M. Botello, The University of Notre Dame Australia


Boronia Women’s Pre-release Centre (Boronia) is a minimum-security level correctional facility located in Perth, Western Australia. Boronia has adopted a progressive/open imprisonment approach to incarceration that is fairly unique within the Southern Hemisphere. However, having been incarcerated at Boronia, my personal experience led me to want to investigate whether it was indeed a progressive/open prison – and is it producing a recidivism rate that is comparative to the international progressive/open prison sector. This thesis examines Boronia as a progressive/open prison via an illustrative case study analysis. Reviewing its facilities, policies, programs and recidivism rates, against two international progressive/open women’s prisons - “Ravneberget” in Norway, and “Ystad” in Sweden. Scandinavian prisons were chosen, as they are known for producing some of the world’s lowest recidivism rates. Issues analyzed included: guiding philosophies, facilities, programs operated and data concerning each prison’s recidivism rate, for example. national culture regarding imprisonment. The findings from this thesis indicate that Boronia is producing a recidivism rate comparable to the national rates of both Sweden and Norway, programs offered are similar, but there appears to be a gap in rehabilitation programs concerning anger management at Boronia. These observations infer that Boronia could in fact produce an even lower recidivism rate than what is currently produced.