The new Minister for Corrective Services Paul Papalia must make significant changes at Banksia Hill Detention Centre in the wake of a second damning report from the Inspector of Custodial Service on conditions at the centre.
Shadow Corrective Services Minister Peter Collier said the latest report on Banksia Hill was yet another damning indictment on the Labor State Government’s abject failures not only at Banksia Hill but also in the broader youth justice system.
The report was handed to the Minister the day before the most recent riot at Banksia Hill Detention Centre on May 9, 2023, when more than half of the 90 detainees escaped from their cells and rioted – some lighting fires, others hurling projectiles at staff and police from the roof.
“This latest report makes it clear that conditions at Banksia Hill have continued to deteriorate in the 18 months since the inspector said the McGowan Government was ‘Failing in its duty of care to detained young people’,” Mr Collier said.
“If the Labor government is genuinely interested in ‘protecting Western Australians’, they will use the transition to a new Minister as a circuit breaker and commit to developing effective rehabilitation strategies for these juveniles.
“The alternative is to maintain the status quo, which is going to do nothing more than ensure that these juveniles are moulded into life-long criminals, reoffending every time they return to the community.
“The former Premier spent the past 18 months criticising and ridiculing anyone who had the audacity to disagree with his politically populist approach to Banksia Hill, including former Western Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley, whom he labelled an ‘activist’.
“Unless this Minister shows more grit than his predecessor and stands up to the power brokers within his party, there will be more riots at Banksia Hill, more people will be hurt and ultimately, I fear someone will die.”