‘Left without option’: WA government moves boys to adult prison



A group of 17 boys in Western Australia have been moved from juvenile detention to an adult prison with no timetable for their return.

The WA Justice Department confirmed that the boys, only 14 years old and largely indigenous, had been moved Wednesday from the Banksia Hill detention center in Perth to a self-contained facility at the nearby maximum security Casuarina prison.

Officials say the inmates destroyed property, escaped their cells, assaulted staff and harmed themselves.

They have promised that the boys will be kept in safe units away from adult inmates while repairs in Banksia Hill are completed.

But proponents have called for urgent reforms amid a spate of self-injury incidents and after an independent inspector found some boys were spending only an hour a day outside their cells in violation of their human rights.

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The grandmother of one of the transferees, whose time with Banksia was described by a judge as a time of “prolonged, systematic dehumanization and deprivation”, has said she fears the 15-year-old will take his own life in prison. for adults.

Justice Department director general Adam Tomison said authorities had “no option” amid unprecedented destruction and attacks on personnel.

“Since September of last year, we have been managing emergencies in Banksia Hill, which has led to a recent escalation in extreme behavior and the number of critical incidents, including inmates violating their sleeping quarters,” said Dr. tomison.

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“The number and severity of incidents over several months have led to an increase in lockdowns as staff respond to what has become a coordinated and unparalleled attack on the center’s infrastructure.”

The department said detainees would be reviewed regularly and returned to Banksia Hill “as soon as practicable”.

It promised that the boys would have access to education, safe recreational facilities and cultural, medical and psychological services.

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About 600 former and current inmates have filed for a planned class action led by Levitt Robinson Solicitors, alleging inhumane treatment, excessive detention and denied access to education.

The case is before the Australian Human Rights Commission, the first procedural step involved in filing a class action in the Federal Court.

First Nations-led advocacy group Change the Record said it was shocked by the WA Labor government’s decision to relocate the detainees.

“Children don’t belong in prison, they don’t belong in high-security adult prisons, and they shouldn’t be punished for adults’ failure to keep them safe,” said National Director Sophie Trevitt.

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Children’s Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)