10 May 2011


10May 2011

Adult Lock Ups no Place for Children says ALSWA

The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA) is extremely concerned at yet another case of a child being held at an adult lock up for an extended period.

“It is totally unacceptable and barbaric that a child is held in an environment such as the Kalgoorlie Police Station for three nights” said ALSWA CEO Mr. Dennis Eggington, referring to a matter on the weekend which saw a 13 year old spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday night at Kalgoorlie’s Police Station.

“This is an extremely dangerous practice that must cease immediately – I cannot begin to imagine how frightening it would be for a child within this environment” said Mr. Eggington.

ALSWA has previously drawn attention to the practice of young people being detained in adult environments throughout regional WA and says that all fair minded West Australian should be alarmed and concerned about this practice. “Adult lock ups are no place for a child and the lock up facility in question already has a disturbing track record when you consider that 5 of the 99 deaths in custody investigated as part of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) occurred at the Kalgoorlie lock up, which was also the location of another tragic death in custody in January this year”.

ALSWA’s says that the rights of the child must be protected at all times, at any cost and that complacency in this area cannot and should not be tolerated anywhere in this country.

“This case is a perfect example of why JP’s should not be presiding over court proceedings in Western Australia. A Perth Children’s Court Magistrate now sits every Saturday morning to deal with children who have been refused bail by the police overnight and are in custody. This child should have appeared via video link from Kalgoorlie before a Children’s Court Magistrate sitting in Perth. The child would then have received a sensible consideration of the bail situation bearing in mind that a bail hostel has been set up in Kalgoorlie specifically to assist with bail for young people” said Mr. Eggington.