: Hakea Detention Of Juveniles

Hakea Detention Of Juveniles

Steven Castan
Western Australia

After nearly a year where over 100 mostly Indigenous teenage prisoners had been housed controversially in WA’s high security Hakea Prison, prisoners have finally been returned to WA’s only juvenile prison, Banskia Hill. Banksia Hill was severely damaged in a riot in January which resulted in the prison being made uninhabitable whilst awaiting repairs. WA Supreme Court Chief Justice Wayne Martin had acknowledged that conditions in the adult prison including
23-hour lockdowns, use of physical restraints and staff shortages were ‘less than optimal’. The remarks were made in a failed
legal challenge in the Supreme Court by the family of a young inmate to the transfer of teens to Hakea which was backed by Amnesty International. WA’s Inspector of Custodial Services, Neil Morgan in his report about the riot concluded that the riot was inevitable and largely sparked by staff shortage-related lockdowns. He concluded that Banksia Hill had been at a ‘crisis point’ and risk of major incident and that it was essential Banksia Hill return to providing a full and active regime ‘including rehabilitative programs and recreation’. Amnesty International had also raised concerns as to the shocking state of youth detention provision in the state, which has the highest rate of youth Indigenous detention in Australia. Hopefully these concerns will be heeded and the state government will put in place sufficient staffing and programs to alleviate the crises in juvenile detention.

STEVEN CASTAN is a barrister.


(2013) 38(4) AltLJ 279
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