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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 | 21 C was the last to be extricated after he was directed to lie on the floor of his cell; he was handcuffed behind his back and escorted out to the basketball court with his head pushed down. It is difficult to establish the exact amount of time the young persons were exposed to the CS gas because the CCTV footage does not have time and/or date information. The IOMS reports submitted by the POs show that the CS gas was deployed at 9.13 p.m. The extrication process was captured on the Handicam and CCTV footage, so it is possible to determine that the young persons were exposed to CS gas for the following approximate periods of time: E - 3 minutes D - 5 minutes F A - 6 minutes B C - 8 minutes Handicam footage captured on the basketball court shows the young persons coughing and spitting on the ground. They were kept on the basketball court until arrangements were made to transfer them to the main (adult) prison. Audio captured on the Handicam records E saying to YJO staff; you didnt even lock the doors, as well as A and B protesting to the staff that they had not been involved in the incident. All POs interviewed were of the opinion that the use of CS gas was justified because a YJO had been injured, and the deployment of the fire extinguisher by E had compromised the ability for the young persons to breathe in the BMU. They all believed that the use of CS gas was the safest option for the young persons and staff, primarily because it prevented the need for a physical confrontation. The A/GM stated to investigators that the Youth Justice Act is to be interpreted as follows: it prevents the use of certain types of use of force, including medications, poisons and shaking, but the restrictions do not apply in emergency situations The A/GM was of the opinion that regardless of whether his interpretation of the legislation was right or wrong, the fact that no young persons were hurt should be the issue.

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