WA: juveniles trash prison again

30 August: Juvenile detainees who trashed their cells at Hakea Prison for adults in Perth were encouraged by one youth who started the rampage, Corrective Services acting commissioner Heather Harker says.

A dozen teenage offenders were responsible for damage to 10 cells on Thursday night and have been moved to the management unit at Banksia Hill Detention Centre.

More than 70 juveniles were sent to Hakea Prison in January after nearly half the cells at Banksia Hill were trashed during a riot. There are currently 100 juveniles at Hakea and 60 at Banksia Hill.

Ms Harker said one boy caused a disturbance in his cell on Thursday at 7pm (WST) and then encouraged others to damage their cells too.

She said youths in both units were involved in the rampage that lasted about three hours. Damage was caused to shower screens, toilets and sinks, and shelves were also ripped off walls.

 Ms Harker said the offenders’ behaviour would be closely monitored in the management unit until they could go back into the mainstream area of the detention centre.

Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis said he expected the youths to face charges.

Last month, five juvenile detainees destroyed sinks, toilets, shelves and mattresses at Hakea.

The teen offenders also damaged cells in June, but Mr Francis was not told until 10 days later, prompting him to visit unannounced for an inspection and vent fury at the department on talkback radio.

In a report tabled in parliament earlier this month, Custodial Services inspector Neil Morgan said the riot at Banksia Hill – the state’s only juvenile detention centre – was entirely predictable.

Chronic understaffing at Banksia Hill, with a disproportionately high number of guards on workers compensation leave, had led to rolling lockdowns and tensions among inmates.

It has cost the state government more than $3 million to repair and improve security at Banksia Hill.

see also: Juvenile inmates ‘being singled out for harsher treatment’ after riot

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