Barwon incident further proof that no child should be held in an adult prison

Barwon incident further proof that no child should be held in an adult prison

The Human Rights Law Centre is deeply disturbed about an incident at the Barwon jail yesterday resulting in serious injuries to a 16 year old boy and the reported use of capsicum spray on others. The injured boy was hospitalised overnight after being assaulted by other boys and is now being moved to Malmsbury youth justice facility.

Hugh de Kretser, Executive Director at the Human Rights Law Centre, said, “We held serious concerns for this boy’s safety before this assault and had been urgently requesting his transfer out of there for over a week. It shouldn’t take a hospitalisation to get a child moved out of Barwon.”

Alina Leikin, Lawyer with the Human Rights Law Centre visited Barwon today. “I’ve been visiting these boys for over two months now and I’ve watched them deteriorate. There are repeated lockdowns with children locked in their cells 21-23 hours a day with extremely limited time outdoors. Some of the boys are not going outside for days on end. The conditions at Barwon are manifestly unfit for children.”

Last week the Victorian Government "gazetted" new conditions which allowed the use of capsicum spray, tear gas and batons at the Parkville and Malmsbury youth detention centres and the Grevillea Unit at Barwon.

Mr de Kretser said, “Tear gas and capsicum spray are not the answers to the government’s youth justice issues. At a time when governments around the country are improving youth justice systems after seeing the horrors of Don Dale the Andrews Government is headed in the opposite direction.”

“It is well and truly time for the Government to do the right thing and get children out of the state’s most notorious adult jail,” he added.

For further comments or queries please contact:

Hugh de Kretser, Human Rights Law Centre, 0403 965 340