Recent footage taken from the Don Dale facility centre shows how children are being arbitrarily abused, and this has sent shivers across Australia. What this ‘abuse’ entails is youths being teargased, stripped and physically held down by guards, or hooded and tied to a restraint chair for long hours of time in solitary confinement. If one looks at the video footage from the centre it is highly disturbing. The Australian Prime Minister himself, Malcolm Turnball, was “deeply shocked… and appalled” at the TV evidence of the abuse.
Dylan Voller, a notorious juvenile who was first imprisoned at the age of 11 years old was a prime victim to the abuse. This case has also brought to light how indigenous Australians are treated by the justice system, and likewise the government’s hard line approach to crime. Many are questioning the whole justice system for youths in place in Australia, and in fact in other parts of the world, to see whether there is injustice on a larger scale.
Some working in the sector were actually unsurprised by these revelations from the Four Corners report. President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, told reporters in Sydney that comparisons that were made of the abuses of Don Dale with Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison were in fact “not too extreme.”
The problem with harsh abuses on youths in detention centres is because of the very nature that they are youths. Aggressive abuse of young people as a method of ‘teaching them a lesson’ does not seem to be a proper way of really solving their past wrong-doings. For example, it could lead to bad repercussions on how these youths view the police and government. Moreover, as they are young they can be long-term traumatised by the abuses they experience in prison which can affect their lives in the long run.
Davidson et al. ‘’Abu Ghraib’-style images of children in detention in Australia trigger public inquiry’ The Guardian [London] 26 July 2016