It has been discovered that a number of facilities and areas in Hakea Prison, Western Australia, contain asbestos. The prison was constructed before the 1970s; buildings of that period are likely to contain asbestos.
Unstable asbestos was found in the ceilings of the prison by WorkSafe. Shadow Corrective Services Minister Paul Papalia has stated that this issue needs to be addressed immediately; the areas contaminated with asbestos need to be evacuated, and removal of the dangerous fibres by experts should commence as soon as possible.
However, issues arise due to the fact that the prison is currently at full capacity. This is because the prison is currently housing juveniles from the Banksia Hill detention centre as a result of the riots that took place in January. Therefore, evacuation of the premises is not an option at this moment in time. The Corrective Services Minister, Joe Francis, has submitted that they must simply wait for the juveniles to be returned to Banksia Hill before they can move the Hakea prisoners from their cells.
It is important that the officials act efficiently on this important issue. Asbestos, once disturbed, releases fine asbestos particles in the air. When these dangerous particles are inhaled, they embed themselves into the lung, and this can lead to mesothelioma other asbestos conditions. Such diseases do not simply affect people who come into direct contact with asbestos fibres; the thin particles can be carried home and affect the wives, children and family members of those who have been exposed to asbestos.