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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

Publisher name

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 | 14 SS A further stated that he had not received approval to issue the young persons with a 24-hour placement, but that it was a method used by him to gain compliance from the young persons. He was not able to describe to investigators how the management or the young persons circumstances would differ under an additional 24-hour placement. The IOMS report completed by SS A states that he sought approval for the 24-hour placement from the A/GM. The A/GM told investigators that he did not have the authority to authorise a 24-hour placement, and that he did not receive any application from SS A to approve a 24hour placement. He said that he could see no point in a 24-hour placement as it would have been identical to the regime they were currently on. The GM confirmed this and advised investigators he would not have approved a placement in these circumstances. At 7.45 p.m. YJO D was requested by SS A to enter the BMU to check the young persons, and he observed that young persons D and F had made a hole in the mesh of their cell door (cell 2). YJO D told investigators that young person E was in a heightened state of agitation. E claimed that the SS A had told them they were being locked away for a 72-hour placement. YJO D stated in interview that SS A confirmed he had said this because he thought it may stop the young persons carrying on. SS A has denied informing the young persons they had been given a 72-hour placement but confirmed at interview that he did inform them they were receiving an additional 24-hour placement. SS A contacted both the A/GM and the GM and advised them that the young persons in the BMU were becoming disruptive and increasingly aggressive and violent towards officers. The A/GM arrived at Don Dale at approximately 8.00 pm. YJO B told investigators: The kids kept asking if they could get out and management never had any answers for them and the detainees went off and I dont blame them, I would have too. It wouldnt have happened if they didnt keep them in there for so long. It is horrible, it stinks, they do the spring cleaning every Saturday but when youve got so many kids in there and they are all going to the toilet and they were sharing cells, it is not nice living arrangements or accommodation, I am surprised it didnt happen sooner. YJO A informed investigators the incident occurred as a result of a build-up of being kept in the BMU for so long, and boredom. Young person E later told him he was angry because the shift supervisor had told him he was getting locked in for another 72 hours.

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