Territory Stories

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

Details:

Title

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

Collection

E-Publications; PublicationNT; E-Books

Date

2015-08

Description

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.

Notes

"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

Language

English

Subject

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.)

Format

52 pages : illustrations, plans ; 30 cm.

File type

application/pdf.

Copyright owner

Check within Publication or with content Publisher.

Related links

http://www.childrenscommissioner.nt.gov.au/publications.html

Parent handle

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/265046

Citation address

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462108

Related items

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462107

Page content

P a g e | 43 Correctional Service staff are concerned that there are insufficient external service providers visiting the young persons and, in general, young persons do not receive suitable therapy or counselling. The Vita review found: There are no examples of programs currently provided at either NT YDCs that would, in the eyes of the reviewer, be considered to be of sufficient intensity to bring about change in the highest group of offenders, The recent recruitment of a clinical psychologist position will hopefully be a catalyst for this to change. 35 This move by Correctional Services is welcomed, as are the efforts towards addressing the need for specialist services in the youth detention centres. It is also noted that Correctional Services are committed to introduce at least two evidencebased offence focused programs. Issue 5: The provisions in place to ensure the emotional and psychological welfare of young persons in the BMU The length of time the six young persons were forced to spend in the BMU is very concerning. It is not acceptable to place young persons in a confined area for days at a time, only allowing them out for one hour per day. The environment in which they were housed was clearly not appropriate, with Don Dale staff decrying the conditions as unhygienic and inhumane. The fact that the young persons were unable to have continuous access to water for drinking and washing is unacceptable. The cells were not air-conditioned, did not have fans or natural light, all of which is unacceptable. Available observation records and CCTV footage show that the young persons spent the majority of their time lying on the platform (bed) when confined to their cell. Case workers interviewed informed investigators that they visited the young persons on most days, however they were restricted to talking to them through the bars of the cells. It is acknowledged that the young persons were provided with reading material and playing cards to keep them occupied, and that music was piped into the cells via the intercom system. The investigators were told that it was not until towards the end of the period in isolation in the BMU that they were provided with educational material. YJO staff advised investigators that the young persons were provided with stress balls. They also advised that the young persons were regularly requesting Panadol for headaches, which they were concerned may have been due to dehydration. 35 Vita report p.38.


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