Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 10


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 such as recreational and vocational training as such programs have then to operate in parallel with the main programs focusing on the younger detainees. This involves duplication and other resources. As the act presently stands, an offender can continue a term of detention in a juvenile detention centre until the age of 18. Under this proposal, that maximum age has been reduced to 17, and transfer to a prison is to occur within 28 days of the detainee turning 17. The member for Barkly should acknowledge that we have checked the statistics. The statistics show that this delay period of 28 days should significantly reduce the number of detainees actually transferring to prison. The Juvenile Court would take into account the new age limit for detention centres in deciding sentences for juvenile offenders. It is noted that the Juvenile Justice Act defines juvenile to mean a child who has not attained the age of 17 years. Of course, that introduces another legal problem in that the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court is limited to juveniles. Last, but not least, with regard to the isolation area, it should be noted that isolation is in no way comparable to solitary confinement. A detainee who is isolated from other detainees is closely monitored using closed circuit television and physical checks every 15 minutes. Isolation facilities are open-fronted ensuring that the detainee is fully visible and has intercommunication with staff. A detainee in isolation can call and/or talk to staff at any time. As well, detainees undergoing isolation are taken out for exercise and contact with staff and other detainees, and lessons are continued to ensure that school work does not suffer. Under clause (12), the grounds for isolating a detainee are broadened to include protection of detention centre employees and visitors and the good order of the centre. With regard to the security isolation unit, the department has very strict guidelines with regard to the use of this facility, and I will read these guidelines to honourable members. I am sure that any fears that the member for Barkly may have about the situation can be put to rest: The use o f security isolation units may only be considered in the following circumstances: (1) the detainee refuses to follow directions; (2) the detainee verbally abuses staff and refuses to desist when requested; (3) the detainee's behaviour is such that it is considered likely that he will incite others around him; (4) the detainee presents as a real physical threat to themselves or others; (5) he or she actually assaults another detainee or staff member; (6) the detainee is damaging property; 3304