WA children should not be imprisoned over lack of accommodation

Children should not be imprisoned at Banksia Hill Detention Centre because they do not have suitable homes to go to, Greens spokesperson for Child Protection Hon Alison Xamon MLC has said today.

Hon Xamon revealed through Questions in Parliament that on 9 October, there were three children being held at Banksia Hill Detention Centre who qualified to be released on bail.

The Government admitted the children remained there because no suitable accommodation was available.

“What is happening is that children who do not have a home to go to are being sent to Banksia Hill,” Hon Xamon said.   

“This is unacceptable – all children should have a safe place to go.”

Hon Xamon said the Young Offenders Act 1994 provided that detention should only be a last resort.

“Banksia Hill Detention Centre is a maximum security custodial facility – certainly not an appropriate place for children who do not need to be there.”

She said it also made poor economic sense to unnecessarily incarcerate children, as doing so cost the State $1000 per day – or $360,000 per year per child.

“While I welcome the establishment of the Driscoll Drive Youth Transitional Accommodation Program (YTAP), that program is for young people being released from Banksia Hill who do not have suitable accommodation, not this specific group,” Hon Xamon said.

“Children involved with the justice system often represent the most vulnerable in our community.

“The Government needs to ensure their safety and welfare by providing adequate accommodation.”