Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia Limited

“BANKSIA HILL SOLUTION A WORST CASE SCENARIO” SAYS ALSWA AS CHILDREN ARE MOVED TO ADULT PRISON

21January2013

Dennis_Eggington_ALSWA_CEO_v2MEDIA STATEMENT

“BANKSIA HILL SOLUTION A WORST CASE SCENARIO” SAYS ALSWA
21January 2013

“BANKSIA HILL SOLUTION A WORST CASE SCENARIO” SAYS ALSWA AS CHILDREN ARE MOVED TO ADULT PRISON

When over seventy young people are re-located to a vermin ridden adult prison, there are serious issues that this government must address as a matter of urgency.

The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA) has condemned the practice of placing children in adult lock up facilities for many years and is appalled that this has now occurred on such a major scale, with inmates from Banksia Hill, the state’s only detention centre for young offenders (aged 10-17), being temporarily re-located to Hakea adult prison.

“As a strong advocate for human rights and protecting the rights of our children, I am deeply concerned at the effect this move will have on the young people concerned. It is also extremely troubling from the perspective of a parent and grandparent” said ALSWA CEO Dennis Eggington, stressing that parts of Hakea, already operating under pressure, were clearly inadequate and unsuitable for anyone.

In a report about Hakea released only last week, Professor Neil Morgan (Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services) (OICS) found that many parts of the site faced some serious environmental health issues with some areas no longer fit for purpose. ALSWA said that reports such as this played a vital role in highlighting deficiencies in the current system and where improvement can be made and the government needed to ensure that OICS received the necessary resources to fulfil such an important role.

“This state has failed our young people dismally” said Mr. Eggington. The government has some serious questions to answer and must prioritise the health and well being of our young people first and foremost because the state has a duty of care to ensure the safety and well-being of all in detention. Unlike juvenile facilities, an adult prison would not be equipped with staff who are specifically trained in working with and meeting the needs of young people”.

“ALSWA has been calling for reforms into how the justice system deals with young people and it’s clear that over-crowding and associated stresses has contributed to the current situation. The fact that the government’s best solution in responding to this crisis has been to round up the young people and move them to an unsafe and even worse environment, is unacceptable and a worst case scenario” said Mr. Eggington.

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