[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]25 October 2022
The President of the Children’s Court has made a number of judicial announcements on how inappropriate it is for the Western Australian government (WA Government) to utilise Casuarina Prison to incarcerate children in WA’s main maximum-security adult prison. In July this year, children were moved to Casuarina Prison. It is understood that there are several children still incarcerated at Casuarina Prison in a unit called unit number 18.
The accommodation units were set up at Casuarina prison after damage to some Banksia Hill cells, however, the facility is not appropriate for children or young people. It is not suitably separated from adult prisoners and the move has been repeatedly criticised by the Courts and, in some cases, it has prompted judges to impose non-custodial sentences, as happened last week. The extended periods of cell incarceration are utterly inappropriate for these children and this form of punishment is contrary to the object and purpose of the Young Offenders Act 1994.
Rebecca Lee, President of the Law Society of Western Australia said “Sending children to the main maximum-security prison in WA is not the right solution and there needs to be a rethink. The WA Government needs to urgently look at how it can redirect funding to the programmes that work to reduce the root causes of crime before behaviour escalates, and how to house children appropriately when either bail is inappropriate, or a custodial sentence is to be imposed. The system is broken if juvenile detainees are being housed in conditions described as cruel and punishing, and as having no rehabilitative effect. I echo the sentiment of the current Children’s Court President Hylton Quail, who earlier this year warned “when you treat a damaged child like an animal, they will behave like an animal”. This should not be the intent or the impact of our justice system.”
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About us: The Law Society of Western Australia is the peak professional association for lawyers in the State. The Society is a not-for-profit association dedicated to the representation of its more than 4,000 members. The Society enhances the legal profession through its position as a respected leader and contributor on law reform, access to justice and the rule of law. The Society is widely acknowledged by the legal profession, government and the community as the voice of the legal profession in Western Australia. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]