Youth Detention Review made possible by Freedom of Information Request

CASSANDRA PALMER-FIELD

Don_Dale_Juvenile_Detention_Centre

Don Dale Youth Correction Centre is now the subject of a Royal Commission. Source: Wikipedia

The Queensland Government have recently announced a review into youth detention centres after the discovery of abuse at the Cleveland youth detention facility.

The review comes after revelations about the Don Dale youth detention centre in the Northern Territory and the Cleveland youth correctional facility in Queensland.

Exposure of the abuse was made possible after Amnesty International lodged a freedom of information request for the Ethical Standards reports of the Queensland facility.

Freedom of Information laws allow organisations such as Amnesty to request access to documents relating to an issue.

Amnesty International spokesperson, Annabelle Behan credits freedom of information requests, such as the one recently lodged by the organisation, to ensure fairness across society.

“I think FOI’s are very valuable tools that are important in ensuring transparency and accountability in government processes” she said.

Ms Behan and Amnesty International believe that independent oversight of youth detention facilities is needed.

“Such investigations would have dealt with issues that have occurred in places like Don Dale and Cleveland, where children have been exposed to lengthy periods in isolation, unnecessary use of restraints and use of fear tactics.”

For now, the Queensland Government are launching a review into youth correctional services.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Yvette D’Ath announced in a statement the review is the best way to address the issues brought forward.

“It is clear that while these allegations continue to be made and consent has not been provided to respond to them fully, an independent review is the appropriate mechanism to address all allegations that have been made” she said.

“The administration of youth justice is a complex and sensitive issue, which is designed at all times to protect the interests of the young people in its care.”

The review into the youth detention centres will answer to the Attorney-General in November.

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