Probe into ‘shocking’ youth detention abuse
THE Australian government ordered an inquiry yesterday after graphic evidence emerged of prison guards assaulting and tear-gassing teenage boys.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was “appalled” by the images aired by the national broadcaster ABC from a youth detention centre in the Northern Territory.
“Like all Australians, I’ve been deeply shocked – shocked and appalled by the images of mistreatment of children at the Don Dale Centre,” he said.
“We will be establishing a Royal Commission to look into these events, into this centre. We intend to do so jointly with the Northern Territory government.
“This needs a thorough inquiry, we need to move quickly on that, get to the bottom of it, and expose what occurred and expose the culture that allowed it to occur and allowed it to remain unrevealed for so long.”
The Four Corners current affairs program on July 25 showed footage of offenders, many indigenous, being stripped naked, tear-gassed and held in solitary confinement for weeks at the centre in 2014 and 2015.
In one video, a 17-year-old is hooded, shackled to a restraint chair by his ankles, wrists and neck.
The Northern Territory has one of the highest crime rates in Australia, with indigenous offenders making up more than two-thirds of the prison population.
According to Amnesty International, Aboriginal children are 26 times more likely to be jailed than their non-indigenous counterparts.