Having proven an outstanding success at improving student behaviour and attainment of outcomes, child-centred reforms were last year introduced at WA’s child-thug detention facility:

Youth detention officers at WA’s Banksia Hill centre have been ordered to wear surgical masks with eye shields rather than put spit hoods on juveniles.

The sudden policy change to drop the use of the hoods at WA’s only juvenile jail came after shocking footage of guards mistreating young detainees in the Northern Territory was aired on ABC’s Four Corners program this week, sparking a royal commission.

The union representing youth custodial officers, the Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association, described the move as “unworkable” and a “kneejerk reaction”.

WA Corrective Services Commissioner James McMahon made no apologies for the directive, part of a reform agenda that had already seen a big drop in strip searches and shackling of young offenders.
“Sadly some staff and the union are not supportive of this change in philosophy and have criticised the department for putting young people first,” Mr McMahon said.
“They have criticised the reduction in the number of strip searches and the reduction in the amount of shackling young people. Yes, we make no bones about the fact that the onus will now be on the staff rather than the young people.”

The mischievous kiddies celebrated with a series of riots, most recently a few days ago. The reaction from the newly elected Labor government’s Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan is decidedly un-Laborlike:

“What we’ve seen there is nothing but a series of actions of wanton violence, fear and intimidation against the staff,” Mr Logan told reporters.

“This is going to stop.

“The actions of those juveniles out at Banksia Hill will now be dealt with in a far harsher way than has been done in the past.”

Mr Logan said the detainees were not at a “holiday park”.

“They will follow directions, they will have an authoritarian regime put in place, and they will do as they’re told for the period of time they’re incarcerated,” he said.

Education should be added to Logan’s portfolio.


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