Young people still at risk despite WA Banksia Hill inquiry

An independent inquiry into abuses at Banksia Hill Juvenile Detention Centre is welcome, but must be accompanied by immediately moving at-risk young people out of the harmful ‘Intensive Support Unit’.

WA Corrections Minister Fran Logan announced at a press conference on Friday that Inspector of Custodial Services Neil Morgan would examine the allegations of abuse, revealed by Amnesty International.

“This is a positive step, to see that Minister Logan has listened to the concerns of abuse of vulnerable young people imprisoned in Banksia Hill, and committed to an inquiry,” said Tammy Solonec, Indigenous Rights Manager at Amnesty International.

“However, right now, young people are still being held in the harmful ‘Intensive Support Unit’, at acute risk of further trauma. Getting these young people out of this damaging environment is an urgent priority. The unit must be shut down until the inquiry releases its findings.”

“We look forward to seeing the terms of reference for the inquiry, which must look at all conditions that can cause harm to these vulnerable young people, including the practice of prolonged solitary confinement.”

“We also call for the inquiry to make very specific recommendations, so that the WA Government can be held accountable for progress on them.”

“The abuses of young people at Banksia Hill are further evidence that Prime Minister Turnbull must lead the States and Territories in overhauling the punitive injustice system, all over Australia. Our young people must instead be nurtured and supported to overcome their problems and thrive in their communities.”