Continued delays in youth justice reform unacceptable: Greens

Greens spokesperson for Corrective Services Hon Alison Xamon MLC has today repeated her call for the Government to prioritise youth justice reform following revelations the Government has yet to identify alternatives to Banksia Hill Detention Centre (Banksia Hill) for girls and young women.

Ms Xamon said the Government’s response to recent questions in Parliament demonstrated an unacceptable failure to prioritise fixing youth justice.

Ms Xamon said despite the Government indicating before the election that it intended to undertake a range of much-needed reforms to youth justice, nothing had happened.

“In July last year it was reported that girls and children under the age of 14 would be moved out of Banksia Hill, and the Minister for Corrective Services reportedly indicated he was hoping to relocate girls by the end of 2017. Yet we are still waiting” said Ms Xamon.

“We don’t even know what options, if any, have been identified”.

Ms Xamon said that in his response to her questions the Minister for Corrective Services indicated that the extended delay was due to the complexity of the issue.

“We are talking about accommodating a handful of girls who on average spend less than two weeks in detention. I believe if it had been a priority, this could have been solved in a matter of months – instead of over a year, with no timeframe yet,” said Ms Xamon.

“I suspect the Machinery of Government (MoG) changes - which have left youth justice in limbo between the Department of Communities and the Department of Justice for over a year – have also stymied much-needed reform”.

Western Australia’s alarming re-offending statistics resoundingly demonstrate the current model is not working.

“It is widely recognised that Banksia Hill is not fit for purpose, and does not meet the needs of vulnerable children and young people. There are high levels of self-harm and attempted suicides, with young people placed in isolation for extended periods of time.,” said Ms Xamon.

“It is crucial the girls are moved to more appropriate rehabilitative and therapeutic accommodation as soon as possible”.