Cook Labor Government must close Unit 18 at Casuarina Prison

Shadow Corrective Services Minister Peter Collier is calling on the Cook Labor Government to urgently close Unit 18 at Casuarina Prison in the wake of the death of a 16-year-old last week.

Mr Collier said the death of the teenager after an alleged self-harm attempt in the unit warranted urgent action, but the Cook Labor Government continued to drag its feet on the issue.

“It is incredulous that four days after the tragic death of a 16-year-old boy, the Premier is still ‘reflecting’ and talking about what could be done, instead of making decisions,” Mr Collier said.

“I don’t know how much more serious it needs to get for the Premier and his Minister to admit this unit is not safe, it is not rehabilitating these kids and they need to act now to shut it down.

“Not tomorrow, not next week, not after the next report or tragic incident. This unit needs to be closed today.”

Mr Collier said the Premier’s comments that he was ‘listening’ were nothing more than empty rhetoric.

“Had the WA Labor Government been ‘listening’ to every single expert in the field of juvenile justice, Unit 18 would have been closed 18 months ago,” he said

“The populist ‘tough on crime’ approach from the Labor government has been a crude attempt to win public support when it has just made the situation worse.

“In addition, the implication that heads will roll within the Department of Justice because of the untenable Unit 18 crisis is completely self-serving.

“The heads of the Department were implementing a policy imposed upon them from the leaders of the Labor government.

“In terms of responsibility for this tragic situation, all roads lead to the Labor government.’’