Go­ing from bad to worse

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRIS MCMAHON chris. mcmahon@ news. com. au

ONE of three Townsville de­tainees re­port­edly used as “en­forcers” by staff at the Bris­bane Youth De­ten­tion Cen­tre, is the teen al­leged to have bashed a guard at Cleve­land last month.

The de­tainee from Au­rukun, who has re­turned to Cleve­land, is also fac­ing charges af­ter the al­leged as­sault of a youth worker over a game of foot­ball on June 14, in what po­lice called an “un­pro­voked at­tack”. The Townsville trio were trans­ferred from Cleve­land Youth De­ten­tion Cen­tre to Bris­bane fol­low­ing a riot at the Townsville fa­cil­ity on Novem­ber 10 last year.

The Bris­bane rev­e­la­tions are de­tailed in an in­spec­tion re­port re­leased by the De­part­ment of Jus­tice and At­tor­ney­Gen­eral.

The re­port cites favouritism shown to­ward the three teens from Cleve­land as one of the cat­a­lysts for an in­ci­dent at the Bris­bane De­ten­tion Cen­tre on Jan­uary 30, when de­tainees de­stroyed an ac­com­mo­da­tion unit and climbed on the roof.

“At root, the in­ci­dent was largely pre­cip­i­tated by al­leged staff favouritism shown to­ward three youths trans­ferred in from the Cleve­land Youth De­ten­tion Cen­tre ( CYDC) af­ter lead­ing the riot there on 10 Novem­ber 2016,” the in­spec­tion re­port reads.

“There were re­lated al­le­ga­tions and some pre­sent­ing ev­i­dence that the CYDC ar­rivals had been used by staff as ‘ en- forcers’ to in­tim­i­date trou­ble­some BYDC youths.

“In any event, the fac­tional ten­sion be­tween CYDC and BYDC had se­verely dis­rupted school­ing pro­vi­sion.”

A spokesman for the De­part­ment of Jus­tice and At­tor­ney- Gen­eral said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the al­le­ga­tions.

“Any al­le­ga­tion of ac­tions by young peo­ple in de­ten­tion or by staff that could com­pro­mise the safety and se­cu­rity of youth de­ten­tion cen­tres is taken very se­ri­ously and is al­ways fully in­ves­ti­gated,” the spokesman said.

“If in­ves­ti­ga­tions find that staff have failed to fol­low ap­proved poli­cies and pro­ce­dures, it is open to the de­part­ment to take dis­ci­plinary ac­tion un­der the Pub­lic Ser­vice Act.”

A source inside Cleve­land De­ten­tion Cen­tre said staff were still not show­ing up to work and the re­turn of the ri­ot­ers was another kick in the guts for youth work­ers.

“There’s a lot of politics be­ing played out there at the mo­ment,” the source said.

“They’ve even got some mob com­ing out here to pick up rocks every week.

“They do cer­tain ar­eas of the cen­tre, and they just pick up rocks.

“The ma­jor prob­lem at the mo­ment is the re­volv­ing door of staff.

“We can’t get any­one to turn up, which means we can’t let the teens out of the unit.

“Peo­ple who have only been there a month are tak­ing sick days.

“It’s full- on and the in­ci­dents out there aren’t stop­ping.”

GROW­ING SKILLS: Mar­ian Year 4 stu­dents Ni­cholas El­lis, 9, and Olivia Fletcher, 9, in the Stephanie Alexan­der Kitchen Gar­den. Pic­ture: SCOTT RADFORD- CHISHOLM

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