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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 | 33 Security isolation unit placements are regarded as an emergency response and should not continue beyond the period necessary to address the emergency. Placement in the BMU on the 24-hour or 72-hour regime can only be legally used in such situations, and within the parameters of the legislation. The use of the BMU for accommodation under a management regime Young persons are also housed in the BMU if they are placed on a management regime as a result of their behaviour. The use of management regimes is prescribed by Correctional Services Directive 2.4.5 Intensive Management Plans (IMPs).23 The GM told investigators that there were a number of Directives that cover both the prison system and juvenile justice, and he was not aware of this specific Directive or the obligations contained within it. The A/GM told investigators that he formulates the IMPs and provides them to the Shift Supervisors who then advise the YJO staff of their content. The A/GM stated that he did not seek input from case managers or other external stakeholders when he compiled the IMPs which were to be applied to the young persons held in the BMU. He also said that he was not aware of the conditions set out in Directive 2.4.5. The A/GM confirmed that he does not keep a record of expired IMPs and that he will generally type over the previous version and destroy the hard copy original to prevent confusion. As a result of this practice I was only able to obtain the IMP applied to the young persons held in the BMU dated 21 August, 2014. As part of this report, I have provided an example of an IMP dated 21 August 2014, for each young persons involved in the incident. (Refer to Attachment A). As the original IMPs were unable to be accessed, I could not confirm the date that they were implemented or the content. The AGM admitted it was possible that he had not compiled the required IMPs when he should have and said the reason being was that he had been extremely busy. The AGM confirmed that there had been occasions where a detainee had been held in the BMU without an IMP, but he did not consider this to be a breach of the Act. In case notes made by the young persons case worker (obtained from Correctional Services)24 confirmed that the young persons had concerns about the nonimplementation of their management regimes. 23 The Directive is dated 31 August 2011, and is Attachment A to this report.

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