MEDIA ALERT - PRESS CONFERENCE
Date: Tuesday 6 December 2016
Location: On the steps of the Victorian Supreme Court, 210 William St, Melbourne
The Supreme Court will tomorrow begin hearing the case against the Victorian Government to ensure no child is sent to Barwon maximum security adult jail.
The Human Rights Law Centre and Fitzroy Legal Service are bringing the case just one week after the government agreed not to transfer any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children to Barwon prison.
Meghan Fitzgerald, lawyer at Fitzroy Legal Service said that all children have the right to be safe.
“Barwon is undeniably unfit for children. Putting kids in an adult jail is dangerous. No child should be kept in a prison built for the worst criminals in Victoria,” said Ms Fitzgerald.
There are approximately 15 children in Barwon adult jail. Most are yet to face trial. The children are being locked in small cells for more than 20 hours per day, with no access to proper education or treatment programs.
The case argues that the government acted unlawfully in sending children to Barwon adult jail; that the government has failed to act in the best interests of children in its care; and that it is has breached Victoria’s Human Rights Charter.
Ruth Barson, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said that the government cannot just pick and choose which children it treats humanely.
“Sending children to Barwon prison was a bad decision to begin with. Last week the Andrews Government promised not to send one group of children there. This case is about ensuring no child is sent there,” said Ms Barson.
For media inquiries:
Ruth Barson, Human Rights Law Centre: 0417 773 037
Meghan Fitzgerald, Fitzroy Legal Service: 0450 977 447
Michelle Bennett, Human Rights Law Centre, Director of Communications: 0419 100 519