Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill, has joined NSW Labor in making an order for papers to release the draft Rafter Report into juvenile justice, following Minister Elliott’s refusal to read it more than nine months after receiving it.
A Parliamentary committee- comprising of NSW Labor, the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party and the Greens- have also unanimously agreed to recall Minister Elliott for further Budget Estimates questioning.
Shadow Minister for Corrections Guy Zangari said it beggars belief that this report- which the Minister himself sanctioned- remains unread when it may contain important recommendations of reform in the interest of protecting young people in custody.
In comparison, the Don Dale report which contained thousands of pages of evidence was completed within 12 months.
Questions on Notice from Budget Estimates reveal there were eight young people in confinement as of September 2, 2018.
Of greater concern is the fact incidents of self-harm have skyrocketed since 2011-12, increasing from 206 to 359 in 2017-18. Just 12 detainees were responsible for 182 self-harm incidents and 21 happened while the detainee was in confinement.
Minister Elliott has already been caught out telling NSW Parliament in 2016 that “there is no practice or provision of isolation of young people in custody”. A former juvenile justice inmate is now taking legal action against the government over alleged abuse by the guards including being locked alone in a cell for up to 22 hours a day, for a month.
Quotes attributable to Member for Summer Hill, Jo Haylen
“It has been over two years since the atrocities committed at Don Dale came to light. The NSW Government has done nothing to assure NSW residents that the same practices aren’t occurring in NSW Juvenile Justice Centres.
“We know that isolation causes significant psychological harm and does not rehabilitate young people. These kids need access to education and rehabilitation programs, not solitary confinement.
“Minister Elliot must release the report which has disgracefully not been read in months.”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Corrections Minister Guy Zangari
“David Elliott has revealed his total disregard for the safety of juveniles under his care.
“Minister Elliott must make releasing the draft Rafter Report a priority. It is the least he could do after failing to read it.
“In the wake of the Don Dale scandal in 2016, tough-talking Minister Elliott has done little to inform himself and the community as to the practices of confinement and isolation in NSW Juvenile Justice Centres.”