YACVic welcomes the decision by the Commission for Children and Young People to inquire into the use of isolation, separation and lockdowns in youth justice centres.
We recognise that the youth justice system is under considerable practical strain, and that options for housing the young people are limited. We welcome the Victorian Government’s statement that the young people will be kept from contact with adult prisoners in Barwon, and that they will be provided with ‘the usual range of support programs’.
However, past experience points to the dangers of keeping underage young people in adult prisons. If they mix with adult prisoners, there is a danger of serious exploitation and abuse. We are also concerned about the potential for increased use of various forms of isolation (including solitary confinement, as has occurred in the past) if staff do not have the capacity to house these young people adequately and prevent and address destructive behaviours through other means.
We are also concerned that the use of various forms of isolation in youth-specific justice settings may potentially increase, too. These facilities, such as Malmsbury, will presumably be under significant pressure in coming months, while the Victorian Government considers the options for rebuilding or moving the Parkville facility.
Download the attached document to read our full submission to the Inquiry.