Own initiative investigation report : services provided by the Department of Correctional Services at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre
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.
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
Northern Territory. Office of the Children's Commissioner
52 pages : illustrations, plans ; 30 cm.
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P a g e | 3 JURISDICTION This investigation was conducted in accordance with Section 10(1)(a)(ii) of the Childrens 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. The grounds for a complaint are defined under Section 21(1)(a)&(b) of the Act which states that the Childrens Commissioner can investigate complaints relating to services provided or that might reasonably be expected to be provided, for vulnerable children1. The services investigated must be provided by either a public authority, or another person, or body acting for or under an arrangement with a public authority that has taken or is taking action in relation to the child as a vulnerable child. FORMALITIES There are a number of relevant legislative regimes that apply to the young persons referred to in this report. For the sake of convenience, and despite the terminology differing in each piece of legislation, including youth2, child3, vulnerable child4 and youth detainee5 or youth prisoner6, this report will use the phrase young person. BACKGROUND TO INVESTIGATION The decision to conduct this self-initiated investigation was made by the former Childrens 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. On 12 August 2014, concerns were raised by a professional stakeholder on behalf of five young persons who were in detention. The complaint related to the alleged indefinite nature of the confinement in the BMU, and the unhygienic living conditions of the environment. It was the complainants opinion that the conditions were inhumane as young persons were being held in solitary confinement in cramped and darkened cells, for up to 23 hours a day. There were also concerns about the long term impact this could have on the five young persons psychological and physical wellbeing. 1 Defintion of vulnerable child: s 7 Childrens Commissioner Act 2013 2 Section 6, Youth Justice Act as currently in force 3 Section 13, Care and Protection of Children Act 4 Ibid n 1 above 5 Section 4, Correctional Services Act 2014 6 Ibid, read with ss 5 and 6
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