To the Queensland Government – Do Better.
A 13 year old boy has been in solitary confinement, in the “harshest of conditions”, for significant periods of the 32 days he was held in the Cleveland Detention Centre before being released on bail.
Due to failings in the government’s records, there is some confusion as to the precise duration, with allegations that on some days he was only allowed outside the cell for 60 seconds before being locked back inside in “undesirable” and “harsh” conditions. If that is correct, as Judge Horneman-Wren SC noted – “repeated separation for 11 hours and 59 minutes cannot be seen as anything other than the most calculated contrivance to avoid the oversight of the Chief Executive.”
The boy, who resides in South East Queensland and was moved to the Cleveland Detention Centre in Townsville due to capacity issues in the state’s detention centres, was “detained hundreds of kilometres from those who might provide him with love, support, guidance and hope.”
Solitary confinement should only be used in exceptional cases and only as a last resort due to its internationally acknowledged damaging effects. The Youth Advocacy Centre calls on the Queensland Government to do better in its treatment of young people in its youth justice system, who are often the most vulnerable among us. This maltreatment must stop.