26 September 2023

Department claps down on detention tension

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The Department of Justice has taken measures to address recent disruptions and staff shortages at the Banksia Hill Detention Centre.

Director General of the Department, Adam Tomison said measures included a reform of operations, bolstering staff and upgrading infrastructure at the Centre in an effort to better respond to the complex needs of young people in the Department’s care.

Dr Tomison said about 40 Youth Custodial Officer recruits had begun work at Banksia Hill over the past two months.

He said the recruits underwent an intensive training program, which included sessions dealing with how to work with traumatised young people and those with cognitive impairments.

“Further recruitment is under way with additional recruit training courses planned for May, July and September,” he said.

“Since February, Corrective Services has reduced unscheduled lockdowns, enabling regular routines to resume and increased out-of-cell hours for young people across the Centre, including in the Intensive Support Unit (ISU).”

The Director General said the Department was developing a new operating philosophy and service model that would better enable the delivery of services to young people, using trauma-informed principles in line with child-safe practices.

“Banksia Hill is now more calm and orderly following recent months during which a difficult cohort of young people presenting with challenging behaviour disrupted operations,” he said.

“The improvements and reforms are helping return the centre to normal and safer operations, allowing the ISU in particular to sustainably address the needs of at-risk young people,” Dr Tomison said.

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