I.08 Shared Accommodation Cell Risk Assessment

The purpose of the Shared Accommodation Cell Risk Assessment (SACRA) is to reduce the level of risk prisoners pose to each other when placed in shared accommodation cells.

These procedures specify the two key parts of SACRA, being the assessment of the prisoner on whether or not they are suitable for cell sharing (being double bunked), and then, who they may be compatible to share a cell with.

A compatibility assessment is only completed when the staff member is satisfied that the prisoner is suitable to share a cell.

I.08.01 Shared Accommodation Cell Risk Assessment

  1. The SACRA process is designed to:
    1. draw together and pool information on IOMS about the prisoner’s risk from existing information
    2. make best use of documentary evidence
    3. support staff judgements about the allocation of prisoners to shared accommodation cells
    4. outline a process to manage prisoners deemed not suitable to share an accommodation cell
    5. provide a readily accessible record about cell sharing risks as a prisoner moves between wings / prisons.
  2. The SACRA process does not:
    1. replace staff judgement
    2. provide an actuarial risk score.

I.08.02 Criterion for using the Shared Accommodation Cell Risk Assessment

  1. A [I.08.Form.01 Shared accommodation cell risk assessment] (IOMS SACRA Report) is only completed for prisoners required to share a cell.
  2. Prisoners required to share a cell must be assessed, using the SACRA process, before being placed in a shared accommodation cell.
  3. As far as practicable, the assessment process should be conducted by custodial staff rostered in the unit / wing where the prisoner will be required to share a cell.
  4. In situations where the assessment process is completed by custodial staff rostered outside of the unit / wing where the prisoner will be required to share a cell (i.e. this would typically occur for late arrivals in high security units), the placement of the prisoner must be reviewed by custodial staff rostered in the unit / wing before the next nightly lock up period.

I.08.03 General requirements

  1. Prisoners classified as maximum security must be placed in a single cell.
  2. Prisoners classified as high security must not be placed with prisoners classified as minimum security.
  3. Prisoners classified as low / low medium security can be placed with any other security classification, except maximum security prisoners.
  4. Prisoners identified as ‘at risk’ of self harm must be accommodated in single cells, unless it is determined that the prisoner will benefit from being accommodated in a shared accommodation cell. Health staff must be consulted before placing an ‘at risk’ prisoner in a shared accommodation cell.

I.08.04 Determining prisoner compatibility

  1. To assess the level of risk between two prisoners required to share a cell, the [I.08.Form.01 Shared accommodation cell risk assessment] (IOMS SACRA Report) for both prisoners must be reviewed for compatibility before placing the prisoner within a shared accommodation cell.
  2. The [I.06.Res.01 SACRA compatibility guidelines] provides staff with additional guidance on the key risk factors to consider when determining prisoner placement in shared accommodation.
  3. The [I.08.Form.01 Shared accommodation cell risk assessment] (IOMS SACRA Report) and [I.06.Res.01 SACRA compatibility guidelines] serves as a guide only and does not replace staff judgement based on the information available at the time of assessment. If additional information becomes known to staff at a later date that may impact on the prisoner’s placement, their placement must be immediately reviewed.

I.08.05 Prisoners assessed as not suitable to be placed in shared accommodation

  1. The initial determination of suitability to double bunk must be undertaken robustly and comprehensively to ensure prisoners who are not suitable to be double bunked are identified and flagged as early as possible following reception.
  2. Where a prisoner has been assessed as suitable to be doubled bunked, however, there is no available shared accommodation where compatibility requirements can be met, then the prisoner must be accommodated in a single cell.
  3. Any prisoner deemed not suitable to double bunk must have an IOMS NTDB (not to double bunk) Alert activated. A NTDB IOMS Alert must not be de-activated without the approval of the general manager custodial (See paragraph 14).
  4. Not all relevant information is provided on the IOMS SACRA report and staff should access as much other information as possible when undertaking the initial SACRA.
  5. There are a number of reasons why a prisoner may not be suitable to be double bunked, these may include (and is not an exhaustive list);
    1. gang affiliations or associations
    2. health needs (physical and mental health)
    3. nature of offending
    4. prisoners behaviour or history
    5. risk of violence toward others
    6. risk of sexual assault toward others.
  6. An example of an indicator that a prisoner may not be suitable to be double bunked, could be due to a high risk of sexual predation.
  7. Sexual predation risks can be assessed by checking;
    1. current, historical or deactivated alerts relating to sexual risk to cell mates, or
    2. previous prison sexual incidents or allegations against previous cell mates, or
    3. any conviction for sexual offending against an adult of the same sex, or
    4. pattern of sexual offending against vulnerable others, or
    5. possible presence of sexual interest shown across various ages and genders.
  8. Watch Point

    Sources of information for considering risk to cell mates can be :

    • Criminal history
    • Current offences
    • Misconducts
    • Provision of Advice to Court and Other Pre Sentence information
    • Judges sentencing notes
    • Police summary of facts
    • Discussion with a Case Manager
  9. If staff have any concerns regarding a prisoner’s previous history or current offending in relation to any risk they may pose to another prisoner should they be double bunked, the staff member should immediately contact their PCO / manager.
  10. The PCO / manager will consult with appropriate staff such as Psychological Services or Corrections Intelligence who will provide input to the suitability assessment.
  11. As such consultation may take time, the prisoner concerned is not to be double bunked until the PCO / manager is satisfied that there are no potential risks to others when double bunking.
  12. If any concerns are agreed through consultation, the IOMS NTDB Alert will be activated immediately.
  13. Where a NTDB alert is created, it must not have a review period as none of the risk factors are likely to change.
  14. The NTDB alert must include the reason(s) why the prisoner is not suitable for shared accommodation. Where consultation is sought, the PCO of the unit where the prisoner is residing must be informed of the decision within 72 hours.
  15. The prisoner assessed as not suitable to be double bunked must be placed in a single accommodation cell.
  16. Where a prisoner with a NTDB alert requests a review of the alert, or requests to share a cell, all requests must be managed by the general manager custodial and the result of that review is to be file noted in IOMS.

I.08.06 Single cell unavailable

  1. In situations where the custodial staff member completing the assessment determines that the prisoner is:
    1. not suitable for cell sharing or
    2. a suitable cell mate cannot be found in the unit / wing and
    3. placement in a single cell is not available unit PCO or on-call manager must be notified immediately, and appropriate mitigation strategies arranged and recorded on the prisoner’s file notes.
  2. Mitigation strategies may include but are not limited to the following:
    1. Transfer the prisoner to another unit where a single cell is available
    2. Transfer the prisoner to another unit where a suitable cell mate can be located
    3. In extenuating circumstances, transfer the prisoner to another prison to locate either a single cell or suitable cell mate.

I.08.07 Reviewing prisoner placement

  1. As the assessment of risk and prisoner compatibility has the potential to change frequently, it is necessary to review prisoner placement in shared cells if there is an event that might affect either prisoner’s level of risk, or that triggers any other concerns. Such events include, but are not limited to the following situations:
    1. a change of cellmate
    2. deterioration in behaviour of one or both prisoners in the shared accommodation cell
    3. deterioration in the relationship between the two prisoners required to share a cell
    4. legitimate complaint from one prisoner regarding their cell mate
    5. one person being the perpetrator of an assault
    6. one person being the victim of an assault
    7. intelligence obtained that the level of cell sharing risk has increased.
  2. In situations where an event has occurred, or additional information becomes available that a prisoner’s risk with regards to sharing a cell has increased, their placement must be reviewed immediately.

I.08.08 Prisoner complaints

  1. Prisoner complaints regarding cell allocation will be managed in accordance with POM [Prisoner complaints]. As far as practicable, complaints regarding cell placement should be dealt with before final placement. If their concerns can not be resolved prior to placement, the prisoner must be informed of the prisoner complaint process.

I.08.09 Youth prisoners

  1. Prisoners under 18 years of age may share accommodation cells with prisoners aged 18-19 years who are deemed vulnerable under the test of best interest (TBI).

I.08.10 Transgender prisoners

  1. Trans people must be placed in a cell on their own and not double-bunked with another prisoner. This may be overridden by the general manager custodial if two trans people with the same gender identity choose to be placed in a shared cell. The general manager custodial must consider the suitability of the two trans people to be placed in the same cell using the Shared Accommodation Risk Assessment (SACRA).