Jesuit Social Services resolutely believes that no child should be held in an adult prison facility.
We accept the need to find alternative housing for a number of young people while the facilities at Parkville are repaired but the alternative must offer appropriate services and conditions to support and rehabilitate young people.
The solution must NOT institutionalise, at the risk of irreparably harming, young people.
As further news comes to hand about the young people being transferred to Barwon prison – including a number of aboriginal children and some with intellectual disabilities – Jesuit Social Services is concerned that the move will compound current issues these children face and make rehabilitation increasingly difficult.
Reports suggest children are being locked in cells for up to 20 hours a day with no access to education and welfare services. This is totally unacceptable.
We support the Supreme Court Challenge by the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Services and the Human Rights Law Centre to remove children from the adult facility.
We must learn lessons from history and be true to previous commitments including findings from the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody report and the Aboriginal Justice Agreement.
Jesuit Social Services understands the difficult position the government finds itself in and has offered its support and experience to help deliver a response that will hold young people accountable while working with them in an age-appropriate way to understand the impact of their actions and address the underlying issues that drive their behaviour.
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