Kikkert calls for answers on Bimberi

The Barr Government must address problems still alleged to be plaguing Bimberi Youth Justice Centre, Shadow Minister for Families, Youth and Community Services Elizabeth Kikkert said.
“It has come to my attention that conditions inside Bimberi have not returned to normal since the riot that occurred there seven weeks ago – and in fact have seriously deteriorated,” Mrs Kikkert said.
“I have been told that young detainees, including remandees, are being locked in their rooms up to 22 hours a day and have had limited or even no access to areas outside of their units. This violates the Charter of Rights for Young People in Bimberi Youth Justice Centre, which promises young people that they can go outside every day.
“These almost continual lockdowns have seriously impacted access to proper education. I have been told that face-to-face instruction has almost completely ceased; instead, detainees are just being given worksheets to do during their long hours of confinement. This is another serious violation of the centre’s Charter of Rights.
“The Charter also promises young people that they can have regular contact with their families, and current research makes it clear that family engagement is an essential element of a functioning youth justice system. I have been informed, however, that the Barr Government’s inability to staff and run the detention centre has resulted in some parents being denied access to visit their children who are locked inside.
“If true, these are extremely serious allegations, and the Barr Government is in breach of Bimberi’s Charter of Rights. We have laws in this Territory that prevent treating animals this poorly. I am deeply worried about the mental health and wellbeing of detainees. A badly run detention centre not only fails to rehabilitate but can actually harm young offenders.
“Minister Stephen-Smith must reveal the full extent of these and any other problems currently affecting detainees, their families and staff. The Barr Government has a responsibility to fulfil its obligations under Bimberi’s Charter of Rights,” Mrs Kikkert said.