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Monday 11th of November 2019

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Children forced into adult watch houses as youth detention gets upgrades

Wednesday 19th of June 2019 | Oceania, Australia
abc
News

Children as young as 10 have been kept in adult maximum-security watch houses in Queensland and now we know one of the main reasons why.

Last month, Four Corners reported that children on remand were being kept in the adult watch house facilities, with one child kept in isolation in the Brisbane City Watch House (BCWH) for more than three weeks.

Often there were more children than adults in the Brisbane watch house — a maximum-security holding place for some of the state's most violent inmates, including those charged with murder, rape and paedophilia.

The state's two youth detention centres usually have a capacity of 258 beds, but the upgrades mean a temporary loss of 36 beds in the already stressed and overcrowded youth detention system.

A spokesman from the Department of Youth Justice said the upgrade works started in April last year.

Queensland's youth detention centres in Brisbane and Townsville have attracted criticism in recent years, including allegations that youth detainees have been used as "enforcers" by staff and of excessive use of force against children.

Children 'significantly disadvantaged' in adult facilities

In mid-April, a staffer at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) raised concerns with the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women about Brisbane's youth detention centre being low on beds due to the upgrade.

Murderers, paedophiles and drug addicts are held in maximum security police watch houses, but each year hundreds of children are also locked up in these same facilities.

The public guardian official questioned the upgrade "whilst young people remain for extended periods in watch houses (despite the associated legislation indicating that they should be housed in a youth detention centre)."

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Logo OIJJ
  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

    All rights reserved

  • Head Office: Rue Mercelis, nº 50. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

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