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Youth Justice Facilities - Remand and Detention

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Tags: Ashley Youth Detention Centre, Commission of Inquiry


The proposed youth justice facilities model released last year indicates that the detention facility will also be for remand. This is contrary to Article 10 2 (a) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This requires that:

Accused persons shall, save in exceptional circumstances, be segregated from convicted persons and shall be subject to separate treatment appropriate their status as unconvicted persons;

I am well aware of the proposed assisted bail facilities, so please do not deflect from my question by talking about those. Is it still your Government's intention for the remand and detention facilities to be one and the same? If so, can you outline what steps you will take to make sure Article 10 2 (a) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights will be complied with?



Mr Speaker, I thank the member for her question. I also thank her for acknowledging the intent of our new model for youth justice facilities in line with our Youth Justice Reform Blueprint to reduce the number of people in detention, particularly those unsentenced young people. As you would be aware, it is typical at the moment for the majority of young people in the Ashley Youth Detention Centre to be people who are not sentenced.

Dr Woodruff - Eleven out of 12 are on remand and unconvicted.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr JAENSCH - The fact is that the young people who are in the detention facility are there on the basis of court orders. Our challenge is to provide alternatives to the detention setting for the courts to use. We are taking all advice in the development of our Youth Justice Blueprint to identify what those assisted bail facilities and services may be -

Dr Woodruff - I am not talking about them. Remember, I asked you not to deflect.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr JAENSCH - and we are taking, and we will continue to take, advice on best practice models for detention and remand facilities to ensure that the new southern youth justice facility meets contemporary standards.

Dr Woodruff - Including our international obligations?

Mr SPEAKER - I will stop the clock this time. Leader of the Greens, you have asked a question. That is the fourth time you have interjected on the minister while he has been trying to answer the question. If you do it again, I will ask you to leave.

Mr JAENSCH - Thank you, Mr Speaker. I have been speaking with the Custodial Inspector as recently as yesterday about work under way to identify best-practice guidelines for detention of young people. I will seek to incorporate those in the design and operation of our new facility. However, we need to be able to work with the courts to identify the circumstances in which they would send young people to other than a detention setting. We need to work with service providers who may be able to provide solutions that are akin to special care packages, for example, and work with us on the development of those supported bail facilities and services.

Getting this right involves everybody working together, including this parliament - including yourself, Dr Woodruff - and people with lived experience. We need all the thinking and ideas we can get to make this nation-leading and world-leading. I believe we now have an opportunity to get this right. Some people I spoke to yesterday have a sense of hope that this next episode of building a new -

Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Mr Speaker, Standing Order 45, not an interjection. I asked the minister specifically about the international obligations and how he will attend to the civil and political rights of children.

Mr SPEAKER - I will stop the clock. The question had a significant amount of preamble. I cannot put words into the minister's mouth. He answers it the way he sees fit after listening to your question. I can only remind the minister of Standing Order 45 on relevance and ask him to wind up. He has 40 seconds left.

Mr JAENSCH - As I said, Mr Speaker, we will strive to ensure the new facilities and services and the models of care we establish are fit for purpose, best practice and compliant with all our obligations nationally and internationally. That is why we welcome inspections from the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment inspectors while we respond always to requests from the Custodial Inspector and act on reports they provide.

We have nothing to hide and we have everything to invest in the youth justice system we need for the future that is therapeutic and does the right thing by our community and the young people who find themselves in contact with youth justice. Tasmania has not had the opportunity to build a specifically built, fit-for-purpose, nation-leading youth justice system the way we have right now and I am excited by that opportunity.