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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 | 38 Issue 2: Findings The housing of the young persons in the BMU did not comply with the requirements of Section 153(5) of the Youth Justice Act. The classification of the use of a BMU cell for a prolonged period as a bedroom placement and as part of a management regime did not comply with clauses 10.2 and 10.3 of the Youth Detention and Remand Centres Procedures and Instructions manual. There was a failure to maintain either electronic or hard copies of expired IMPs, due to the A/GMs stated practise of over-writing the old plan with the new one. No independent record is therefore available. The ramifications of such a practise include no idependent evidence to show whether there has been compliance with legislative and policy regimes, unless the Daily Journal contains such information. In April 2014, as a result of a previous unrelated investigation, Dr Bath made the following recommendations: 1. Correctional Services make it a requirement to record within Behaviour Management Plans (IMPs) any information that relates to a known mental illness or medically diagnosed behavioural condition and any known triggers or warning signs that could be beneficial in assisting a YJO to strategically manage a detainees behaviour in a proactive manner; and 2. That where possible, the Behaviour Management Plan has the input of any mental health or therapeutic professional involved. In accordance with Section 10 of the Childrens Commissioner Act this Office sought information from Correctional Services so that it could monitor the outcome of these two recommendations. Correctional Services sent a response by e-mail, stating in part: As advised, in previous correspondence to your office, Youth Justice is unable to provide information or respond to recommendations that are relevant to services provided by other departments. This matter is relevant to the services provided within the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre by the Department of Health to This response is incorrect, as the content of Behaviour Management Plans (IMPs) are developed and implemented by Youth Justice staff. Despite further attempts to be provided with information pursuant to Section 10 of the Childrens Commissioner Act no further information was forthcoming.

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