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Submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s OPCAT in Australia Consultation Paper

Jesuit Social Services welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Australian Human Rights Commission’s OPCAT in Australia Consultation Paper.

We support the Australian Government’s commitment to ratify OPCAT* and believe it provides:

  • a valuable opportunity to strengthen oversight measures in detention facilities
  • a clear opportunity to drive more holistic and therapeutic practices within prisons, and the justice system more broadly
  • children, young people and adults within these environments – many who are often disadvantaged in multiple and complex ways – with a voice.

In this submission we recommend that:

  • professional support is included as part of visiting teams to ensure people in custodial environments (especially those with Acquired Brain Injury, cognitive impairment or mental health issues) are able to voice their experiences and concerns
  • youth detention facilities be prioritised as requiring immediate attention
  • an Independent Custodial Inspector be established in the Northern Territory
  • third parties (such as community service organisations) are effectively included to give people a voice once they have been released from detention.

Jesuit Social Services has also endorsed Australia OPCAT Network’s submission (see here).

*Note – The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) provides for independent inspections of all places of detention in the jurisdictions that ratify and implement it. On 9 February 2017, the Australian Government announced it intends to ratify OPCAT by December 2017, working closely with states and territories.

Get your copy

Download our submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s OPCAT in Australia Consultation Paper.