Ashley far from ideal: Greens

The state governmentshould use the next Councilof Australian Governments meeting to push for the closure ofthe Ashley Youth Detention Centre, Greens leader Cassy O’Connor says.
Nanjing Night Net

The Ashley Youth Detention Centre

Ms O’Connorsaid planning should be under way to close Ashley, which she described as a gateway to Risdon Prison, despite the centre achieving some positive outcomes for young people.

Her comments come after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull committed to placingyouth detention and child protectionon the COAG agenda as they were issues that applied to every jurisdiction.

Ms O’Connor said Ashley was “a very far cry from the dehumanising brutality” of the Northern Territory’s youth justice system, but said it was a far from ideal environment for young offenders.

She called on Premier Will Hodgman to instead opt for a therapeutic and diversionary approach to youth offending, which she said had significantly lower recidivism rates in other jurisdictions.

“We need to focus on keeping young people out of trouble, off drugs and onto a positive life course. This requires a systemic and community wide approach,” Ms O’Connorsaid.

Both Ms O’Connor and Labor child safety spokesman Josh Willie said the Deloraine facility was hugely expensive for the amount of young offenders it housed.

Mr Willie said Labor was open to establishing a “cheaper and more modern facility” that would allow a higher amount of funding on diversionary programs.

“It would mean greater support to allow young people to safely transition back into community with a lesser risk of reoffending,” he said.

But Mr Willie said Ashley was a strategic asset for the North,and a community discussion about the best use of the facility going forwardwas needed.

Mr Hodgman said he was not aware of any evidence to suggest Tasmania’s youth justice system had experienced issues similar to the Northern Territory, but stressed protecting children was a key priority.

He said the main component of thegovernment’s Youth at Risk strategy and implementation plan involved examining ways to redevelop custodial youth detention in the state.

Mr Hodgman said the government had demonstrated its commitment to protectingchildren in its care by moving to overhaulthe state’s Child Protection System, and introducing amendments to the Youth Justice Act.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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