Inadequate child protection, alcohol and drug services mean young people detained for longer

Greens spokesperson for Corrective Service and Youth Hon Alison Xamon MLC has revealed through questions in Parliament that young people are being unnecessarily detained at Banksia Hill Detention Centre because there are no places for them in the drug and alcohol programs that they need.

Ms Xamon pushed the Government to reveal that at 15 June two young people found to be eligible for release into a drug and alcohol program were still in prison because rehabilitation beds were not available.

She said this was in addition to the young people who are still being held at Banksia Hill because suitable accommodation for them could not be found.

“We know that as at 23 April, there were two young people with bail who did not have suitable accommodation and three young people who’s Supervised Release Order had been deferred because a viable accommodation placement was not available for their release,” Ms Xamon said.

“The addition of yet more young people continuing to be held at Banksia Hill as they await placements in drug and alcohol programs is simply unacceptable.

“It costs $898 per day to keep a young person in detention and it is well understood that prison can be the worst possible environment for children, particularly those deemed suitable for release.”

Ms Xamon said young people awaiting release were often extremely vulnerable and that a recent study from Telethon Kids Institute found nine out of ten young people in Banksia Hill have severe neurological impairment.   

“Detention should be the absolute last resort for Western Australian children and young people, as outlined in the Young Offenders Act 1994,” Ms Xamon said.

“It is not appropriate to keep children and young people in detention because child protection, and alcohol and drug services are inadequate.”