Hon Alison Xamon MLC, Greens spokesperson for children and youth justice, has called for a total rethink of the approach to young offenders as questions she asked in Parliament last night revealed a staggering 81.72% of young people released from detention returned to either sentenced detention or adult custody within five years.
“These statistics provide stark evidence that Banksia Hill Detention Centre is completely ineffective at rehabilitating young people to go on and lead positive lives in the community,” said Ms Xamon. “In fact, with more than 8 out of ten returning to either Banksia Hill or to an adult prison within five years, the system seems more effective at creating long term criminals.”
“Given these statistics, it is frankly outrageous that we can consider imprisoning 10 year olds in this maximum security custodial facility as reported last week, solely because there are no child protection care placements available,” said Ms Xamon.
Furthermore, answers to other questions asked by Ms Xamon last night revealed that around one in five children currently in child protection residential care had at least one period of youth justice detention while in care.
“The system is completely failing the youngest and most vulnerable members of our community,” said Ms Xamon. “There is a serious lack of child protection placements for young people in crisis and those with challenging behaviours, and a lack of mental health professionals in the youth justice and child protection systems.”
“When you add to this that our only youth justice custodial facility is completely inappropriate for addressing the needs of these young people - 9 out of 10 of whom have been shown to have FASD or other cognitive impairments - we are really creating a perfect storm,” said Ms Xamon.