We wish there was a ‘demoralising and inhumane tick box’. The actions of the Hakea Adult Prison must be in direct breach of the Convention on the Rights of the Child?, and our love goes out to this young man and his family – Lateral Violence & Racism must be addressed across all levels of Government and society for our children to be culturally safe and protected. Lateral Love Australia
Boy gets bed sores in adult prison stay
- by: Paige Taylor
- From: The Australian
- April 08, 2013 12:00AM
A 16-YEAR-OLD Aboriginal boy has been treated for bed sores after being locked down in a prison cell for up to 24 hours a day for nine weeks, the West Australian children’s court has heard.
The boy, who has ADHD and “cognitive issues” that make it difficult for him to learn, was placed under 24-hour observation last month on the recommendation of a psychologist who saw him about six weeks after he arrived at the adult jail. Yesterday Labor MP John Quigley — a QC and former criminal lawyer — said the treatment of juveniles at the adult prison was bringing WA into disgrace internationally.
“To me, the alarm bells are ringing. I worked for three years on the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody and these are exactly the sorts of conditions that drove young people to take their own lives,” he said. “This kind of environment takes a toll on the prison officers and staff too.”
On Wednesday, the Department of Corrective Services will be forced to defend a writ challenging its decision to move the juveniles to the adult jail in the wake of a riot at the state’s only juvenile detention facility on January 20.
Last week, Premier Colin Barnett said the juveniles were serious offenders and would remain at the adult jail until damage at the juvenile detention centre was repaired.
In the Children’s Court on March 27, president Denis Reynolds heard that the boy with bed sores was a burglar and car thief with a long record of offending since he was 11 years old.
Based on a report provided to him by the Department of Corrective Services, Judge Reynolds concluded that the boy and two others had been in 23 to 24-hour lockdown on 23 consecutive days from January 21 to February 12 and in lockdown for 18 hours a day after that.
The boy had been strip searched 16 times at the adult prison in February and March, according to the report.
The boy’s lawyer, John Hawkins, told Judge Reynolds his client was in handcuffs when outside his cell, received no rehabilitation programs during the more than 80 days he was in jail on remand, and had just five hours of school a week .
He felt degraded to be made to pull down his pants and shake for guards, including before and after his mother and father visited him on February 13 and after Mr Hawkins visited him to prepare for court.
Mr Hawkins said the boy had developed large boils on his body, best described as bed sores which nurses were treating. “He’s not an angel, but he shouldn’t have to endure those conditions,” Mr Hawkins said in court.
“The boy was deprived of fresh air. He was deprived of any social interaction for up to 23 or 24 hours a day for three weeks.”