Over 80 recommendations have been made to bring the Queensland youth justice system in line with international law and to respond to the individual developmental needs of each child. the review reminds us that just because a child is incarcerated, their human rights and entitlements must not be ignored.
The Victorian Government told the Supreme Court last December that its sole justification for locking kids up in a maximum security adult prison was the lack of capacity due to the damage at Parkville. Yet now the Government has admitted that even when those 60 beds are fully repaired next month, it’s going to continue to keep kids at Barwon until August or September.
MEDIA ALERT: DOOR STOP PRESS CONFERENCE
9:15am Monday 3 April 2017
On the steps of the Victorian Supreme Court, 210 William St, Melbourne
with the Human Rights Law Centre’s Executive Director Hugh de Kretser
Tomorrow the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory will release its interim report into systemic abuses and mistreatment of children in youth prisons.
The Commission for Children and Young People released a scathing report, The Same Four Walls, detailing widespread isolation of children in Victoria’s youth justice centres. "You can’t respond to inadequate staffing levels by just leaving kids locked up in the cells for hours on end. It’s time for the Victorian Government to stop taking short cuts and to start properly resourcing the youth justice system," the HRLC's Alina Leikin.
The Victorian Government must address the underlying causes of damaging incidents in youth justice centres including staffing and lockdowns, the Human Rights Law Centre has said in a submission to a Victorian Parliamentary inquiry
Less then a month before the Supreme Court hears the third legal challenge to the Victorian Government's decision to detain children at the Barwon maximum security adult prison, lawyers are concerned that the use of extreme practices appears to be increasing.
“All the data shows that these laws are being overwhelmingly used against Aboriginal people. Twenty-six years ago the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody made clear that locking someone up should only ever be a last resort and that police should be required to consider safer options,” said HRLC's Adrianne Walters.
Disturbing details have emerged about the incident on Monday night at the Barwon maximum security adult prison where the Victorian Government is currently detaining around 21 boys aged between 15 and 18 years old.
The Human Rights Law Centre welcomes Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis' announcement today that Australia would ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and other mistreatment (OPCAT) by the end of the year.
Mandatory sentences are not the right tool for reducing crime, writes our Executive Director, Hugh de Kretser, following the misguided policy announcement from Victoria's Opposition Leader.
Just a day after Victoria’s highest court confirmed the government acted unlawfully in detaining children at the Barwon adult prison, the Minister has tried yet again to keep them there. The government is spending extraordinary resources defending the indefensible – jailing children in the state’s most notorious adult prison.
There is indeed a crisis in Victoria's youth justice system. It is not one, as the Government suggests, of available beds or suitable facilities – these things are imminently fixable with a dose of political will. Rather, the crisis is one of a myopic outlook and a merciless attitude: a willingness to countenance cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
Brutal images of Aboriginal women and children being mistreated in custody are a defining feature of 2016. From Dylan Voller and the young detainees of Don Dale to Ms Dhu, Australians have been forced to reckon with the cruel reality of Australia's over-imprisonment crisis.
I've just returned from Barwon maximum security adult prison. I found myself squatting on the floor to talk to one of our clients – a 16-year-old child – through the trapdoor to his cell. The tight steel opening so small I could only see his anxious eyes. He is being held in solitary confinement; pacing his cell, uncertain when he will be let out. He hasn't seen the sky since Thursday.
We need to get to the bottom of what went wrong with the riot at the Parkville Youth Justice Centre. We don’t need lazy, kneejerk populist responses, like transferring kids to adults jails, which are designed to sound tough on crime and which in fact will only make things worse.
Last year, Kumanjayi Langdon, a proud and respected 59-year-old Warlpiri man from a large family, died in police custody in Darwin.
His crime? Police suspected he was drinking in a local park. He wasn’t causing any disruption and was polite and cooperative at all times.
Dragged from her cell. Handcuffed and paralysed. Hauled, dying, into the back of a police truck. This week Australia may be confronted, yet again, with images and footage of the justice system failing Aboriginal people, with devastating results.
Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull's announcement of a royal commission into the abuse of children in Northern Territory jails gives an insight into his instincts on human rights.
Monday night's Four Corners episode also revealed that cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is endemic in its principal youth detention facility.