Victoria: Police investigate teen riot at Barwon Prison

Up to 20 teen detainees were involved in a fight at the Victorian maximum security prison on Monday night.

Emergency staff and DHHS workers took almost three hours to bring the brawling under control and contain youth offenders within the unit.

A Corrections Victoria officer is understood to have received a “a nasty facial injury” during the uprising, which began in an outdoor yard.

Several youths involved in the riot attempted to enter a visitor centre attached to the Grevillia unit, but were unsuccessful.

 

The fight involved a group of 16 youths after they barricaded themselves outside.

An Emergency Response Team was called in to assist.

Corrections Commissioner Jan Shuard​ told 3AW Radio she expects charges to be laid.

“It’s a matter for Victoria Police, but there was damage to property,” she said.

“They’ve done a fair bit of damage outside,” she said.

There have been no reports of youth offenders sustaining injuries. Ms Shuard told 3AW that OC spray was used in the initial response against the youths, who damaged the exercise yard and visitor centre.

In response to the latest Barwon Prison youth riot, a staff member at Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre called for a system overhaul, saying many of her colleagues had been assaulted.

“It’s like working in amongst savages,” she said.

In a statement, a spokesman for Corrections Victoria said emergency-response staff and DHHS youth-justice workers resolved the Barwon Prison upheaval at 9.55pm.

“The incident, involving a number of young offenders and damage to property, was … confined to the grounds of the youth-justice precinct,” the spokesman said.

“Police were on site and are investigating the incident.”

Along with police, the Country Fire Authority and Ambulance Victoria were also called to the scene on Monday night, and were on standby.

The latest incident comes as the Victorian government is set to face a fresh challenge in the Victorian Supreme Court over its decision to use the Barwon adult maximum-security prison to house young offenders.

The Human Rights Law Centre, which led two previous and successful court challenges against the use of Barwon’s Grevillea wing to house about two dozen teens, is launching a third legal challenge in a bid to force the government to remove teenage detainees from the jail.

Late last month, a 16-year-old boy held in Barwon Prison suffered a fractured vertebra after being bashed by adult inmates.

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