Today more than 50 of us rallied outside the Royal Commission, standing in solidarity with young people who have been caught up in the criminal injustice system, suffering violence at the hands of prison officers. We heard this morning in the hearing of a young man who had been lifted up and slammed against a wall with the prison guard’s hands around his neck and screamed at – for patting a dog. Kicked for picking up an apple. Told “come to the toilets where there are no cameras and I’ll kick your fucking head in” by a guard when kids were kicking a football around. Held on remand for months in Aranda House which looked to the kid being taken there to be ‘like a maximum security prison’, with no view of the sky from the cells, and a courtyard too small to play sport. These are the stories we have heard today. The hearings continue in Alice for the rest of the week. See you there.
Media Release: Justice For Youth gathering outside Royal Commission
Mparntwe (Alice Springs)
13 March 2017
Photos and Vision available
Today there was a gathering of over 50 concerned residents, including Dylan Voller and his family, outside the Royal Commission as it resumed its hearing in Alice Springs. They were gathered in concern over youth incarceration.
“I’m here today to support the young people giving evidence in the Royal Commission. It is a hard process to go through and I sincerely hope the government listens to the commission recommendations. There needs to be a better future and better care for young people here in the NT” said Dylan Voller
“We have a responsibility to our young people that if they are troubled then we offer them respect and care, and not lock them up. There are too many stories of kids being assaulted while in prison. We need to offer therapeutic responses and early intervention instead of jail” said Dr. Hilary Tyler, from the local Shut Youth Prisons action group
Earlier today the Royal Commission heard of young people 13 or 14 years old being held in the air, assaulted and thrown against walls, as well as routinely kneed in the back for “just being kids” by prison officers.
In addition appearing in Alice Springs this week will be some of the prison officers from the Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre.
Tasker will be one of these officers. Footage showed on ABC 4corners shows Tasker hitting Dylan Voller, however the Supreme Court found him not guilty.
Anna McCauley from the local group, said “As long as there is no accountability there will be no moving forward from past errors.”