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Own initiative investigation report : services provided by the Department of Correctional Services at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre



Own initiative investigation report : services provided by the Department of Correctional Services at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre

Other title

Report to the Minister


E-Publications; PublicationNT; E-Books




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).; The decision to conduct this self-initiated investigation was made by the former Children’s Commissioner, Dr Howard Bath, and was based on events that occurred at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre (‘Don Dale’) in the Behaviour Management Unit (‘BMU’) between 4 and 21 August 2014. This investigation was conducted in accordance with Section 10(1)(a)(ii) of the Children’s Commissioner Act 2013 (the Act) which allows the Commissioner, on his own initiative, to investigate a matter which may form the grounds for a complaint.


"Dear Minister. In accordance with section 43(2) of the Children's Commissioner Act 2013, I provide you with my final own initiative investigation based on events that occurred at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in the Behavius Management Unit between 4 and 21 August 2014'. p. 1.

Table of contents

Jurisdiction -- Formalities -- Background to investigation -- Process of investigation -- Investigation issues: issue 1; The decisions made and actions taken by Correctional Service staff at Don Dale in relation to young persons confined within the BMU on 21 August 2014 -- Issue 1 Findings -- Issue 2: The period of time young persons were confined within the BMU and the purpose of this procedure -- Issue 2 Findings -- Issue 3: The access young persons have had in regard to making a complaint to the Children’s Commissioner -- Issue 3 Findings -- Issue 4: The access young persons had to external service providers when confined within the BMU -- Issue 4 Findings -- Issue 5: The provisions in place to ensure the emotional and psychological welfare of young persons in the BMU -- Issue 5 Findings -- Issue 6: The contact young persons housed within the BMU have had with family members -- Issue 6 Findings -- Issue 7: The supervision and monitoring provided to the young persons whilst they were accommodated within the BMU -- Issue 7 Findings -- Recommendations -- Departmental response. -- Attachment A & B




Juvenile detention homes -- Northern Territory -- Darwin Region; Juvenile delinquents -- Rehabilitation -- Northern Territory

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Northern Territory. Office of the Children's Commissioner

Place of publication

Casuarina (N.T.)


52 pages : illustrations, plans ; 30 cm.

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P a g e | 12 Clause 5.2 of the Directive states: Prior to any of the above regimes being enforced, the OIC of the accommodation areas where the prisoner is intended to be housed for management purposes will compile an Intensive Management Plan for the prisoner. (Emphasis added) IMPs were developed for each of the young persons housed in the BMU, however this Office was told by Correctional Services staff that this did not occur until 13 or 14 August 2014. These IMPs were not available to view in either hard-copy of electronic form, as the Professional Standards Unit (PSU) advised this Office that they had been typed over as part of an update on 21 August 2014. The A/GM stated that his practice was to destroy expired IMPs in order to prevent confusion, and this occurred in this instance. Thus, there is no idependent evidence of any IMPs prior to 21 August 2014. The case notes obtained from the case workers files of the six young persons confirm that they had requested information about their BMU placement, and that the young persons caseworkers were also attempting to obtain information on their behalf from the A/GM. Clause 5.4 of the Directive states: The Intensive Management Plan must be clearly defined and identify and record the risk behaviours that need to be addressed and the reasons for management under the alternative regime. Each of the six IMPs compiled on 21 August 2014 was essentially identical to the others, and were compiled by the A/GM without any input from case workers or other relevant stakeholders. There were no provisions within the IMPs to address individual behavioural standards or behavioural triggers, and no mention of the young persons individual medical requirements, despite two of them having specific medical needs. Day of the incident 21 August 2014 The young persons IMPs were due for review on this day, and YJO staff stated at interview that the young persons behaviour in the BMU had been good. They had an expectation that the review would take this into account and be reflected within their new management regimes, or IMPs. However, the review was delayed by the A/GM. YJOs on the day shift told investigators that the young persons were eager to see their new IMPs and appeared to be frustrated by the delay.

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