STOP Australia's Unjust Youth Justice Laws in Norther Territory

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After all that we learnt from the Royal Commission into youth detention, last week that the Northern Territory decided they could choose when guards can use force, restraints and isolation on children- in fact the guards can decide in that moment. What then changed after the commission? What are commissions for if we don't use them to learn? 

A wasted royal commission

The Royal Commission cost Territory taxpayers and federal governments $54 million. Why would that money be spent if there was no desire for change? So Australia can continue torturing our children?

Now after all the shock and horror most Australians and International communities experienced when seeing how children are incarcerated and tortured in Australia's juvenile justice system rather than helped to find other ways of living. People who are locked up as children tend to end up in prisons their whole life so what is it all for? It is inhumane, very costly and as often the case with governments extremely short sighted. 

Adam Fletcher predicted this in the Conversation; "Ratification and implementation of the UN adopted Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) is squarely within the federal government and parliament’s constitutional power. This must now be prioritised. If the government does not commit to prevention, we as a society will continue to pay dearly for dubious “cures” like the royal commission".

Government statistics show: youth detention population in Australia from June 2014 to June 2018. Among the 980 young people in detention on an average night in the June quarter 2018, most were male (90%), aged 10–17 (84%), unsentenced (60%), and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (54%). Over the 4-year period, the number of young people in detention rose, though rates fluctuated across quarters.

No consultation

Human rights, legal groups and Aboriginal peak organisations are trying to stop Northern Territory’s juvenile justice laws falling back to the dark days of the old Don Dale.

Ruth Barson, from the Human Rights Law Centre said: “absolutely no need for these reforms...The government should be doing everything it can to stop abuse against children behind bars, but instead it’s watering down much-needed protections."Lorena Allam and Helen Davidson reported in the Guardian.

Young Australians deserve much more. Criminality does not come from nowhere. Lets keep focus on causes and if detention is considered apt then that place must be a support mechanism for them to make the changes that could enhance their lives. Its a social issue and we must treat it as one.