The never-ending Banksia Hill saga will continue to be a dark cloud over Correction Minister Johnston’s head if he keeps ignoring the key issues, according to Shadow Minister for Corrective Services, the Hon Peter Collier MLC.
Mr Collier said the problem lies in the culture of Banksia Hill, rather than the kids.
“Minister Johnston is not only failing these kids, but he’s failing the victims and future victims of crimes committed by these juveniles when they’re inevitably let out of Banksia worse than when they entered.
“We’re not saying those who commit crimes do not deserve punishment, or the victims don’t deserve justice.
“But when these already damaged kids enter the system, they keep coming out worse to eventually enter the adult prison system.
“Banksia is essentially a prison pre-school that makes more criminals than it rehabilitates under this Government.”
Mr Collier said you only need to look to the numbers which show a cycle of prisoner handover from the juvenile system to the adult system.
“If you want more proof Banksia’s rehabilitation program isn’t working, just look at all the juveniles ending up in adult prisons.
“298 prisoners currently in Casuarina had previously been in Banksia. To put that into perspective, that’s nearly a quarter of all prisoners if Casuarina was operating at 100 per cent capacity.
“Furthermore, 233 of those currently in Acacia Prison had been in Banksia in the past.
“When you look further into Banksia Hill itself, you see First Nation’s kids dominating the system.
“405 Banksia inmates out of the 571 that have gone through the prison this year are Aboriginal, that’s 70 per cent.
“Most of these kids come from the Kimberley Region, so they’re being taken off land and away from their heritage to a dark and depressing place where education is no longer the focus.
“This is a crisis of children who have no direction who are being forced further into a life of crime after they enter the corrective system.
“The fundamental objective of Banksia Hill should be rehabilitation of the juveniles. It should provide an environment which is constructive, not destructive. It is clearly evident that the latter is prevalent at Banksia Hill at the moment.
“The Minister and Premier both need to stop using these juveniles for crass political purposes. They must listen to the roar of disapproval of the current environment by a plethora of experts and address the blatant and entrenched problems that exist at Banksia Hill,” said Mr Collier.
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