Media Release: Explosive Royal Commission evidence prompts calls for Tasker and Clee to be sacked
15 March 2017
Mparntwe (Alice Springs)
Today the Royal Commission heard from Derek Tasker who is the training officer at Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre (ASYDC) and Barrie Clee who formerly worked as the shift supervisor at ASYDC and is now working at Holtze prison in Darwin. Tasker repeatedly denied holding children up by their necks on seperate incidences, until he eventually conceded on cross examination that he had grabbed Dylan Voller by the neck.
“Why is there a Royal Commission if Clee and Tasker are still working in these positions? That should be the first step.” said Kirra Voller
“On top of him losing his job, Tasker should also be held accountable for the assault and abuse he has inflicted on young people, including my brother who tried to take him to court and do the right thing by pressing charges and bringing attention to this abuse a long time ago. How can a system charge and convict children as young as 12, yet fully grown men are not being held accountable? Think of the example it sets for anyone who works in corrections” said Kirra Voller
“Derek Tasker is still employed here in Alice Springs, at the Youth Detention Centre. Corrections should be ashamed about what the Royal Commission is exposing. Tasker has a track record of abusing kids over his 20 years of employment in Youth Justice in Alice Sprngs. Today three separate allegations have been raised against him relating to choke holds on minors held against walls.
“Tasker has made clear not only his own incompetence and lack of training, but also the total lack of appropriate processes in Alice Springs juvenile detention. This includes log book keeping, staffing, notifying families of removals, and following up on allegations of assault and sexual abuse.” said Meret MacDonald, Spokesperson for Shut Youth Prisons, a local Alice Springs group.
“Tasker has exposed himself as completely unfit for the job. How can it be that he holds a current position as the training officer for JJO’s in Alice Springs?”
Today and Yesterday the Commission heard of the woeful lack of training provided to and required of JJOs. The only training provided to staff is PART (Professional Assault Response Training), which casual staff weren’t (and are still not) required to attend. Casual staff compose a majority of the workforce. In the training staff learnt how to perform a One Hand Escort, which they also referred to as a ‘Wedgie’, where young people were held by their pants. The only employment requirement of JJOs is that they hold a Senior First Aid certificate.
Yesterday a leaflet was discussed which detainees are supplied with on the arrival to the ASYDC, Tasker informed the commission that it is still in use. It reads “Different officers have different approaches, and as a detainee you will need to learn the different ways that officers deal with situations. This will help you predict what will happen to you if you behave poorly.” This institutionalises and excuses the inconsistent delivery of punishments.
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