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Millilma May wants to see Don Dale’s youth detention center closed. If not, she empties it l SBS News

Miri Luma May, a woman from Larakia and Dangaraba, feels responsible for her children in the Dondale Youth Detention Center in Berrimah, east of Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory.
“The fact that Dondale exists in my country means that it is my responsibility and duty to make sure that our children are actually nourished and cared for.” Says 23 years old.
The Northern Territory has youth detention centers in Darwin and Alice Springs for people aged 10 to 17 years. As of June 20, 36 young people were detained in Darwin and 18 in Alice Springs.
Managed by territory families, homes and communities, 50 young people are Aboriginal and 4 are non-Aboriginal. At its peak in June last year, 45 young people were detained in Darwin and 19 in Alice Springs.
“75% of these children are being remanded, which means that even if they have been convicted of a crime, they have not yet been convicted of a crime,” says Ms. May.

“They are just there and waiting for their court day to know if they commit a crime.”

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In the Northern Territory, the age of criminal liability is 10 years. The territory’s criminal law states: mistaken”.
“We want to close Dondale so that there is no youth detention center, but we need an alternative,” says May.
Advocates of youth justice, who say their childhood had the privilege of not ending in the judicial system, believe that imprisoning children perpetuates a virtuous circle, and instead of imprisonment, they are more effective and indigenous. You need to use a led alternative.

“When you take children away from their families, their communities, and their country, you’re literally uprooting them,” she says.

When you take children away from their families, their communities, and their country, you are literally uprooting them.

Youth of May, defender of youth of justice

Criminal barrister John Lawrence SC has been practicing law in the region for 35 years. He says Dondale’s detainees are in a place that was once used as the largest security prison for adults.
He represents at least one 11-year-old boy who was detained in Dondale and says that having children there is detrimental to their mental health.
“There are psychological reports in court related to this child, which tells the court that he is suffering from traumatic psychological damage,” Lawrence says.
“Putting such a child in a cell where pedophiles and murderers used to live would worsen the child’s condition.

“This is all illegal. This is a reckless mistake.”

John Lawrence standing in front of a barbed wire fence outside the Dondale Detention Center

Barrister John Lawrence says children should not be detained in former prison facilities.

Ms. May, who directs the grassroots advocacy group UP: Uprising of the People, says she intends to use her position to prevent the imprisonment of young people.

“We want to empty Dondale. If that means we have to come up with a solution, that’s what we’re trying to do, because if they don’t close it, I We just empty it, “she says.
She says these solutions already exist — they just need the help of a person in charge.
“Powerful people need to listen to each community group to find out what they see as a solution for children in Dondale,” she says.
“I can’t talk about people who live in Manning Leader or Alice Springs, but what we know here in Darwin is a simple solution: the basketball court has been refurbished and the library has been refurbished. Make sure it’s open, make sure the park is fun and safe, and there are facilities around the town so kids don’t have to rely on making their own fun in potentially criminal ways. Make sure that. “
May says there are many youth services in the territory, but one of the models she saw working was the program “Brother to Another.”
Founded last year, the Jye Cardona initiative works with children up to the age of 10 to empower young people with a focus on youth justice, home care, social and emotional well-being, and workforce development. Is aimed at.
According to a service progress report outlining operations for the first six months from December last year to May this year, young people were released on bail instead of imprisonment on three separate occasions, and one client was suspended. I received a judgment with.

“We have solutions and answers, but to help our own people, we need the trust of those in power,” says May.

Close-up of Millil Mamei standing outside the building

Millima May says that if the government does not close, it will empty the Don Dale detention center.

Data released in March by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) have identified 49% of young people detained throughout Australia as indigenous peoples. Indigenous children also make up 94 percent of the youth imprisoned in the area.

This month, Aboriginal Federal Minister Linda Burney promised to raise the age of criminal liability nationwide. The United Nations recommends that all countries raise their age to at least 14 years.
“States and territories are responsible for the judicial system and correctional facilities, but efforts must be doubled across all portfolios to reduce the increase in youth detention,” Ms. Bernie said in a statement. I told SBS News.
“This includes raising the minimum age of criminal liability that I support.”
Her call for action came after four self-harms, including one attempted suicide at the Dondale facility in the last two weeks.

“All cases of self-harm and suicide, especially among children, are deeply painful and tragic,” she said.

Linda Bernie standing on the podium

Aboriginal Australian Minister Linda Burney will address the Uluru statement from the Heart Summit in Sydney on June 16, 2022. sauce: AAP / / DAN HIMBRECHTS

Lawrence says the day in custody is not the day the child has to endure.

“On the day of my 11-year-old client, he was trapped in his cell. The cell is a room with a 3 x 2 meter steel, concrete, and Judah hatch. [a small door within the main cell door]”He says.
“He stayed there, and every four hours, he went out for only 15 minutes and sat on a piece of concrete next to him.
“He sits there for 15 minutes and then is returned to his cell and stays there until the next day.”
In all Australian states and territories, children up to the age of 10 can be held criminally liable if they know they are doing something wrong.

Earlier this month, the Tasmanian government promised to raise the minimum age of detention from 10 to 14, but did not raise the age of criminal liability. The Australian Capital Territory was the first jurisdiction to help raise age, but it hasn’t.

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In the territory, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Chansey Paech has promised to raise the age of criminal liability from 10 to 12.
“I am working with my Cabinet colleagues to implement this constructive legislative amendment that will bring positive changes to the lives of all territories,” he said in a statement provided to SBS News. rice field.

“To support this, we need to ensure that we provide services for young people at risk of being under the age of criminal liability.”

According to Lawrence, aging is a “convenient red herring” and has been criticized as one step away from a practical solution within the federal government’s grasp.

“The federal parliament may pass the bill, which makes it illegal for children to continue to participate in this horror show. [Don Dale], And that’s what should happen here. “

Congress may pass a bill that makes it illegal for children to continue to participate in this horror show.

John Lawrence, Barrister

Dondale became the focus of the 2016/17 Royal Commission after a video of the treatment of juvenile detainees was broadcast as part of an ABC Four Corners investigation.
In the final report, the Royal Commission recommended that the territorial government close the center and replace it with a new dedicated facility. At that time, all 227 recommendations (intentions and directions) were accepted, 10 of which stated that federal action was required.
Five years later, Dondale remains open.
Lawrence says that more cultural and age-appropriate support is essential, rather than agreeing that the detention center should be completely abolished.

“Re-engagement with their language, culture, family, etc. It’s all feasible and must be done.”

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A spokesperson for the Northern Territory government said a new center is under construction in Darwin, scheduled to open in late 2023, and “the Dondale detention center will be closed.”
The new facility is under construction, but “delayed due to community concerns about the original location,” a spokesman said.
A spokeswoman added that the new facility will be in line with the requirements set by the Royal Commission in “balancing treatment design and program with safety and security.”
“This allows young people in custody to gain access to support and acquire age- and culturally relevant life skills such as safety, health and educational outcomes that prioritize cultural, community and family connections and reconnections. You can attach it.

“This facility also includes medical and welfare hubs, including dental facilities, learning hubs with flexible vocational training suites, educational kitchens, sports and recreation facilities, cultural courts, visitors, and IT-rich video conference suites. increase.”

On December 31, 2021, a small group of activists can be seen outside the Dondale Youth Detention Center in the Northern Territory in Darwin.

On December 31, 2021, a small group of activists gathered outside the Dondale Youth Detention Center in the Northern Territory demanded the end of continued detention of children in Darwin. sauce: AAP / / Aaron Bunch

Lawrence believes the new facility will not open soon and is worried about the welfare of children currently in custody.

“I don’t want that,” he says.
“And it looks like it will be completed as early as October next year, which probably means 2024.
“So you’re looking at another two years, 18 months when the kids will go there.”
Ms. May says she needs to remain hopeful, but eventually wants to close and empty all detention centers.
“We must absolutely have the hope and trust in people that they can accomplish what they are trying to do.
“It doesn’t make sense without hope.”
Readers seeking help can contact Lifeline Crisis Support at 13 1114. Or find ..Resources for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders can be found at ..

Millilma May wants to see Don Dale’s youth detention center closed. If not, she empties it l SBS News

Source link Millilma May wants to see Don Dale’s youth detention center closed. If not, she empties it l SBS News

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