Revelations of shocking abuse in Australia’s youth justice system have shaken the public to its core. Released images from within the prison show conditions easily mistaken for Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay.
It almost defies belief, but in Australia there is a prison system that locks up 10-year-olds and places children as young as thirteen in solitary confinement. CCTV footage from the Orwellian ‘Behavioural Management Unit’ shows distressed teen Jake Roper trying to get out of his tiny cell. Having been confined alone for almost 24 hours a day, for over 2 weeks, Jake has lost all sense of time, having had only a sliver of natural light to illuminate his cell. “Those cells were ghoulish, they were something medieval”, says lawyer, Jared Sharp. Dylan Voller suffered systematic abuse by officers for over 4 years. These are not the actions of some bad guards, but “a deliberate, punitive and cruel policy”, says barrister, John B Lawrence. “If I treated my children like that, the authorities would take my children from me.” And this shocking abuse continues, with the Northern Territories having legalised the use of mechanical restraints, where children are hooded and shackled to a chair. This shocking report reveals the truth about the treatment of Australia's children behind bars, where young offenders have been stripped naked, assaulted and tear gassed.