A large group of community organisations have issued an open letter to the Western Australia Government calling for urgent youth justice reform.
The open letter comes in response to the State Government’s plans to move 20 kids from Banksia Hill Detention Centre maximum security men’s Casuarina Prison.
The Government says the decision is due to damage caused to the facility by youth at the centre as well as a deteriorating relationship between inmates and staff.
76 organisations have signed the open letter which calls for immediate action to address the current crisis as well as addressing issues within the youth justice sector in general.
In addressing the current situation the letter calls for the children to not be sent to an adult prison and to release children under the age of 14 from detention.
It also calls for tailored trauma informed treatment and rehabilitation plans for the children in detention and an adequate model of care for detained children with a pathway out.
In terms of urgent reform, the letter calls for the age of criminal responsibility to be raised to 14 and investment in initiatives to address the root causes of offending.
Co-Chairperson Social Reinvestment WA, Glenda Kickett says “children need support and care to thrive, especially vulnerable children who are already in distress. Adult prison is not the answer”.