Northern Territory

Nov 21, 2017

Don Dale: damning recommendations must be acted on

The commissioner has handed down a damning report detailing the failures of state institutions in the protection of children in the Northern Territory.

Don Dale

On Friday, the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory handed down its final report after 15 months, $54 million, 54 days of hearings, over 200 witnesses and 12 case studies.

The investigation by commissioners Margaret White AO and Mick Gooda found that all detention centres in the Northern Territory operated in the same manner as adult prisons, caused trauma to the children and did not have any rehabilitative programs.

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6 thoughts on “Don Dale: damning recommendations must be acted on

  1. Yclept

    “damning recommendations must be acted on”
    Hardly likely given our Human Rights record!

  2. graybul

    Any government can build infrastructure. Whether it be ‘on the cheap’ and therefore likely to form the next cornerstone of the next media exposure of the next (Don Dale) scandal or; a fully fit for purpose facility supportive of both inmate and staff needs. The R.C. recommendation for smaller (twelve inmate) facilities is on the right track. But it is not of itself ‘the answer’, merely part there-of.

    Both CLP and Labor, more than happy for political and budgetary gain to demonize juvenile inmates given it met an uninformed public and very aware Treasury priorities. But to do so in the full knowledge that the two greatest threats to achieving a fully functional retraining, rehabilitative correctional facility could not be delivered without those threats first being attended to; was unforgivable.

    The failure of Don Dale was predictable and inevitable. Every politician and department head knew it to be so. They knew that adult Correctional Services cultural mores were the antithesis of retraining and rehabilitation. They knew, that in employing, essentially on the cheap a fully, effectively untrained casual workforce, guaranteed that when the music stopped, it would be ‘dark.’

    So now we have a new future proofed plan. Or do we? By itself, no matter how well built, fit for purpose infrastructure is; it is of itself powerless to provide community (and all of the traumatised citizens who have suffered assault, or pillage) the security, or retribution so desired. Smaller facilities must still be staffed. Smaller facilities become close knit, protective. The two greatest threats identified above remain.

    Young, ‘off the rails’ Territorians must not be detained for punishment, rather re-education, firm and fair . . . if not, then by all means accept incarceration is purely a preparation . . .

  3. AR

    Any word on why the kids and social cohort are so remarkably dysfunctional?
    Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

    1. graybul

      Good question AR. Having worked with dysfunctional youth over decades (and by that I mean from confused, resentful, alienated, violent thru to capital offence offenders) in community; am of the view generic classification serves little purpose. It is at the individual level where identification, need and behavioural causation has meaning. Deprivation; real or imagined often present. Peer relations, again real or imagined another. Biology. Key responses; consistency, reliability over extended term. More years than months.

  4. old greybearded one

    I am sorry, I do not believe the 10 and 11 year olds who broke into my boss’s house 3 times (same ones) stealing stuff did not know they were doing wrong. A different way of dealing with them yes, but today we see an 11 year old form WA on a murder charge. I live in a town with a huge theft and domestic violence rate. 10, 11,12,13,14 year olds assault the elderly and nothing happens. they smash schools, same deal. Something must happen and that something cannot be oh no they cannot be charged. It may be a different justice system but what is proposed here is an injustice system. I believe in prevention, not ignoring.

    1. graybul

      It is not that juveniles cannot be charged OGO but how come intercession mostly occurs after the event. i.e. when an offence or behavioural indicators advise intervention is warranted. Effectively, officialdom does not invest until after the fact. Police, Courts, Probation, Incarceration, Parole etc

      The pathway is covered in eggshells. Indigenous offender rates being but one. But the big one is political exploitation and their preferred investment; too late, and at the least effect point in the intervention cycle.

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