find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Adult prison no place for kids, Vic court finds

Adult prison no place for kids, Vic court finds

A Victorian Supreme Court decision has been applauded by the law clinic that took the state government to court for putting children in the maximum security adult prison named Barwon.

A Melbourne-based not-for-profit has welcomed a court ruling that last week found the detention of children in an adult maximum security prison unlawful.

The Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) brought a legal action against the Victorian government in February, after a group of alleged child offenders had been transferred to Barwon maximum security prison. Some of the child inmates were as young as 15 years old and the majority of the 20 detainees were being held on remand in pre-trial detention.

At the time the HRLC commenced the action, HRLC executive director Hugh de Kretser said that community safety was ultimately at risk by keeping child offenders in such conditions.

The treatment of children who were detained in Barwon’s adult facilities included the authorised use by guards of control measures such as tear gas, capsicum spray and expandable batons. Mr de Kretser said that subjecting children to such actions damaged their prospects of rehabilitation.

The HRLC also alleged that child offenders were kept in “ongoing solitary confinement”, handcuffed for extensive periods of time and denied a proper education.

“At a time when governments around the country are improving youth justice systems after seeing the horrors of Don Dale, the Andrews government is headed in the opposite direction. Using Barwon prison to lock up children is bad for the children and bad for community safety,” Mr de Kretser said.

“At Barwon prison we’re seeing […] the use of capsicum spray by adult prison staff and the hospitalisation of a 16-year-old boy after the government ignored our warnings to transfer him. We know at least two boys have self-harmed,” he said.

The court’s latest decision prohibits the government from using Barwon as a “youth justice facility”.

Last week’s decision follows an earlier decision made by the Supreme Court last year, which found the Victorian government did not properly consider the human rights of children in detention or other important issues concerning the wellbeing of youth offenders.

The Victorian government responded to the earlier court ruling by choosing to proceed with the detention of youths at Barwon and reclassifying a unit at the prison as a “youth justice facility”. According to the HRLC, the government’s decision to continue with the same youth dentition arrangements was announced on 29 December 2016.

The Supreme Court ruled last week that the reclassification of Barwon’s Grevillea Unit as a “youth justice facility” was unlawful.

HRLC lawyer Alina Leikin described the decision as an important win for children’s rights and Human Rights Charter of Victoria.

“The government must now do the right thing and immediately get all kids out of Barwon and into lawful, humane, age-appropriate youth facilities. The focus must be on showing these kids that better options exist and giving them pathways to become productive members of our community,” said Ms Leikin.

“It was always a terrible mistake to send them there, it’s now been confirmed yet again that it was unlawful,” she said.

Barristers Brian Walters QC, Matthew Albert, Sarala Fitzgerald and Adam McBeth led the legal team representing the HRLC.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Adult prison no place for kids, Vic court finds
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...