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‘Akin to torture’: Greens call for urgent investigation into human rights violations at youth prison

Media Release
Dorinda Cox 10 Feb 2022

The Greens have called for an immediate investigation following alleged human rights violations in a children’s prison today, while again calling on the WA Government to raise the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years.

It follows reports today that Banksia Hill Detention Centre’s staffing shortages have forced 10 to 17-year-olds into repeated lockdowns for 22 hours a day - constituting human rights violations that see a Perth judge rather send 17-year-olds to a maximum-security prison for adults.

Today’s revelations follow recent reports that more than 250 former inmates at the prison have registered to be part of a class-action lawsuit alleging mistreatment at the centre.

“Every child deserves to live in a safe and caring environment. It is absolutely unacceptable that children as young as 10 are being kept in inhumane conditions that are akin to torture. That judges are too concerned to send kids into these appalling conditions says so much about the horrific conditions that these children are being kept in,” Senator for Western Australian Dorinda Cox said today.

“The Western Australian Government has a responsibility to take care of these children, instead, they’re being traumatised in ways that will deeply harm them for the rest of their lives. This benefits absolutely no-one.

“Children who are at risk of getting trapped in the criminal legal system need culturally safe, supportive bail and community corrections programs to divert them away from prisons and back into the community."

Senator Cox again called on the Western Australian Government to raise the age of legal responsibility to at least 14 years, in step with advice from Australian Medical Association and the United Nations Human Rights Council. The WA Government has yet to act on this issue, despite repeated calls from community and human rights groups, and the WA Labor Party passing a motion to ‘raise the age’ at their state conference in October 2021.

Statement ends


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