MEDIA RELEASE: 01/08/18
COMMUNITY DEMANDS BAIL REVIEWS, PROTESTS TRANSFER OF KIDS TO DON DALE
Mparntwe (Alice Springs)
Groups such as the Strong Grandmothers of the Central Deserts Region and Shut Youth Prisons are demanding bail reviews be conducted following Territory Families’ snap decision to transfer a number of Aboriginal children from the overcrowded Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre to Don Dale in Darwin. This is despite the 2017 NT Royal Commission finding rampant abuse of child prisoners within Don Dale which was also deemed unfit for use and recommended for closure.
Residents of Alice Springs protested this afternoon outside Minister for Territory Families Dale Wakefield’s office to draw attention to the recent transfers of child prisoners and to demand immediate bail reviews. The protest was vibrant and vocal, with many passers-by waving, joining in or giving their thumbs up supporting the chants for “Kids in country, not in custody”, “Charge the guards” and to “Shut youth prisons”
Christine Kngwarraye Palmer, of the Strong Grandmothers of the Central Deserts, warned “We have to immediately stop the removal of our children. They will take our youth, then the repeat of abuse will continue.”
The transfers fly in the face of calls by the Strong Grandmothers of the Central Deserts Region to center families in decision making. Recent protests have drawn attention to the continued failure of the NT government to stop the abuse of children in detention exposed to the world two years ago in the 4 Corners report “Australia’s Shame”.
100% of children in imprisoned in the Northern Territory are Aboriginal. In May 2018, 95% of youth in detention in Alice Springs were being held on remand (without conviction) and has been severely over-capacity as sited by the Offical Visitor. Some children have been imprisoned for up to for months at a time and held in solitary confinement.
Anna McCauley: 0408 225 429
Meret MacDonald: 0456 475 810