Responding to the latest damning report by the Inspector of Custodial Services into conditions at Perth’s Banksia Hill Juvenile Detention Centre tabled in West Australian Parliament today, Amnesty International Australia Indigenous Rights Advisor, Rodney Dillon, said:
“The findings in this report should come as a surprise to no one – but they should shock anyone who knows the difference between right and wrong.
“Amnesty has been documenting conditions in Banksia Hill causing extreme trauma for so many of our kids for years now.
“It breaks my heart to read this report describing the place as being in ‘crisis’ – we’ve been telling the WA government for at least five years something has to change.
“These kids need our help to get back on track, not to be sent to places that harden their trauma into life-long calluses.
“Recidivism rates prove that locking kids up doesn’t help them or stop youth crime. It’s even more devastating that the report was tabled just days after the West Australian government said it would spend even more money locking kids up.
“When are the authorities going to learn that committing to long-term inventment in diversion programs is what will make a real difference, not traumatising kids in places like Banksia Hill.”
In July 2017 the extreme suffering endured by children in Banksia Hill was revealed following findings from the Inspector of Custodial Services including the use of spit hoods, solitary confinement, alleged sexual assault, and soaring rates of self-harm and attempted suicide.
Amnesty International made initial contact with the Minister for Corrective Services about one case in December 2017, and a second case in January 2018.
In early 2018 Amnesty International called for the Intensive Support Unit at Banksia Hill to be immediately closed pending investigation, following serious allegations of abuse of young people which may amount to torture. Amnesty has consistently called for an end to the use of solitary confinement.