Humane and respectful reforms for children and young people detained in SA’s only youth detention centre have been highlighted in the Training Centre Visitor’s latest annual report.
In the 2019-20 year, despite considerable stresses and uncertainty in the wake of COVID-19, the TCV and staff were working hard to provide ongoing advocacy to make positive changes for the young cohort detained in the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre (KTYJC).
“This has been the biggest year yet for the program and my staff,” Training Centre Visitor, Penny Wright said.
“Three years ago, we set about consulting with young people in the centre, then designing and implementing the Training Centre Visitor Program. Today we acknowledge the mammoth efforts my team have made in advancing the interests and rights of the young people in the centre, assisted by the willingness of the Department for Human Services (DHS) and Youth Justice Executive to respond thoughtfully to the issues we have brought to their attention,” Penny said.
“We acknowledge decisions by DHS Youth Justice and KTYJC management to allow our regular, safe face to face contact with the young people throughout the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in SA. This continued contact ensured that the young detainees had ongoing access to our support in what was an extremely difficult time for everyone.”
Here is a snapshot of the TCV annual report.
Overview of children and young people detained
The graphs below indicate the number of individual children and young people admitted to the KTYJC (graph 1) and the number of admissions in total (graph 2).
Highlights of the year
– Use of spit hoods prohibited
– End of (almost all) semi-naked searches
– Greater privacy in bedrooms and toilets
– Respectful access to sanitary products for girls and young women
– First formal inspection of the centre carried out, obtaining the voices of the children and young people, and examining whether their rights and needs are being met.
– Need for more supportive rehabilitation and care that is trauma focussed
– Lack of legal powers under legislation for the TCV to provide oversight and advocacy for children and young people who are outside KTYJC but still detained within the criminal justice system (ie in transit to court or in hospital)
– Increasing number of children and young people under a guardianship order of the Chief Executive of the Department for Child Protection who end up in detention
– Increasing number of girls and young women being detained
– Cultural needs of Aboriginal children and young people continue to be a high priority
– High numbers of children between the ages of 10-14 admitted to the centre.
You can download the report in full here.