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Detention of children in the maximum security Barwon jail found to be unlawful

The Supreme Court has found the government’s detention of children in the maximum security Barwon jail is unlawful.

Justice Greg Garde has found the detention fails to give proper consideration to their human rights.

Ruth Barson from the Human Rights Law Centre, who brought the case against the government, told Nick McCallum adult prisons are no place for minors.

Ms Barson acknowledged the government had to do something in response to the youth crime situation in Victoria.

‘But that response can never involve being cruel to children,’ she said

Ms Barson said the children are exposed to guard dogs, held in solitary confinement, and denied access to their families.  

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Nick said the government has found itself in a ‘fine mess’.

‘This is a disaster for the Premier,’ Nick said.

‘His new tough-on-youth-crime program has a big hole in it. His government looks silly.’

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The government sent about 15 children to the Grevillea unit of Barwon after riots at Parkville reduced the capacity of the youth justice centre, but will now need to find a new solution.

In his ruling, Justice Garde says every child has the right to protection.

Lawyers for the government immediately indicated they would appeal the decision and are seeking a stay on the order.

The hearing continues.

State political reporter Lauren Hilbert gave Nick an update from the Supreme Court.

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