Amnesty International urges the Victorian Government to ensure no children are jailed at the maximum security adult facility Barwon Prison, following the Government’s astonishing decision to halt the transfer of some children, while exposing others to ongoing harm.
“The Andrews Government has agreed not to transfer Aboriginal children to a maximum security adult prison, yet bizarrely is choosing to expose other children to ongoing risk,” said Julian Cleary, campaigner at Amnesty International Australia.
The Victorian Government made the unusual decision in order to avoid a Supreme Court case brought by the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) to prevent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being incarcerated in the adult prison.
Amnesty International is disturbed by reports of children being locked down in their cells for up to 23 hours a day which amounts to solitary confinement, in violation of the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty.
“Solitary confinement, harsh conditions, limited access to education – no child deserves these conditions. All children deserve protection from harm, and Premier Andrews needs to recognise that he is still placing many children at risk, in breach of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Julian Cleary.
Amnesty International notes that the former Victorian Ombudsman concluded in December 2013 that “there are no circumstances that justify the placement of a child in the adult prison system”.