Media release – Peter Gutwein, Premier & Sarah Courtney, Minister for Children and Youth, 9 September 2021 Ashley Youth Detention Centre to close This Government has taken steps to invest in the Ashley Youth Detention Centre, including introducing a more therapeutic model of care with a best practice objective, however it is clear that more […]
Media release – Peter Gutwein, Premier & Sarah Courtney, Minister for Children and Youth, 9 September 2021
Ashley Youth Detention Centre to close
This Government has taken steps to invest in the Ashley Youth Detention Centre, including introducing a more therapeutic model of care with a best practice objective, however it is clear that more needs to be done.
It is time for a major systemic change in our youth justice system, with the need for a holistic approach that gives our young people a far better chance of gaining the supports they need so that they are in a better position to rehabilitate and to live better and more productive lives.
It’s why today we’ve announced the Ashley Youth Detention Centre will close and that we will invest in new infrastructure and introduce a new service delivery model in its place.
This will include the construction of two new smaller facilities – one in the North and one in the South – and a service delivery model focused on early intervention, diversion strategies and detention as a last resort measure.
We expect construction of these new facilities will be commenced over the next two years and that Ashley will be closed in around three years.
Importantly we will consult with the Custodial Inspector and the Commissioner for Children and Young People on the best model and approach to support those most at risk during the transition period.
We will also work with stakeholders to establish and invest in a contemporary, nation-leading, therapeutic approach, across the whole youth justice system, to ensure our young people have the wrap around support they need, and the best chance to live better lives.
Sarah Lovell MLC, 9 September 2021
Ashley closure must result in more than new buildings
The decision today that the Ashley Youth Detention Centre will close is welcome but must be about fundamentally more than merely closing one building to be replaced with another.
Shadow Child Safety Minister Sarah Lovell said after seven years of indecision by the Liberal Government it took Ashley worker Alysha to blow the whistle for the government to announce the closure of the facility.
“This government could no longer ignore the on-going and serious concerns about Ashley and the pending Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has also no doubt played a role in the decision of the government today,” Ms Lovell said.
“Senior government Ministers have been unable – or unwilling – to answer serious questions about Ashley during Estimates Hearings this week and, in light of that, this is the only possible outcome.
“But what needs to be the priority of the Liberal Government going forward is what will replace Ashley and how they will support the current staff through this process.
“It’s more than about two new buildings in the north and south.
“It’s crucial that these two new facilities be therapeutic and support young people to be rehabilitated because children as young at 10 are incarcerated at Ashley.
“Over the years there has been much evidence come to light about conditions at Ashley, whether or not children were being rehabilitated and the evidence in fact demonstrated that many of them graduated to the adult prison system.
“It has failed many children.
“What we need to see from Gutwein Government now is very clear detail about how the two new facilities will operate, how they will be staffed and what sort of practices will be engaged because we need to ensure that it is different from Ashley.
“We need to see a guarantee that the children currently at Ashley are kept safe while the transition to two new centres is on-going.
“It’s not about just new buildings, it’s about a different approach to youth detention.”
Media release – Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader, 9 September 2021
Greens Celebrate Ashley Youth Detention Centre Closure
On behalf of the Greens and the children of lutruwita/Tasmania, I thank Peter Gutwein for making the long-needed decision to close Ashley Youth Detention Centre.
Children have been abused and brutalised at Ashley for too long.
The closure of AYDC and construction of two therapeutic centres is a much needed reform that has been Greens’ policy since 2015.
AYDC has long been a one-way ticket to Risdon Prison. It has been brutalising children and young people for generations. This is coming to an end.
The young people who find themselves at Ashley deserve a better future than they are currently face when they leave. We’re so glad and relieved that the Premier understands this.
We’ve been advocating for the closure of Ashley for more than five years, ahead of the independent Noetic report, recommending the closure and the construction of two new therapeutic facilities. We’ve heard shocking stories of abuse, brutalisation, harassment and an overarching toxic culture.
The closure of Ashley will mark the end of a tragic and terrible chapter in Tasmania’s history. The harm this facility has been causing to young people is well documented. The decision to close the centre is long overdue.
It has been clear to the Greens that AYDC needed closing for some time. It has taken some time, but we’re glad the Gutwein Government got there in the end.
Media release – Justice Reform Initiative, 9 September 2021
Opportunity to build stronger future for Tasmania’s youth
The has welcomed the announcement that the Tasmanian government will close the Ashley Youth Detention Centre.
Executive director Mindy Sotiri said the long-overdue decision opened an opportunity for Tasmania to lead the country in adopting an evidence-based approach for children and young people who become caught up in the criminal justice system.
“Children don’t belong in prison,” she said. “We’re very glad to see that the closure of the Ashley centre is on the horizon, however we need to be very careful that we don’t replicate a failed model in its replacement.
“This decision presents an opportunity for Tasmanian leaders to take a world-leading approach that will give children and young people who encounter the criminal justice system the best chance to avoid further contact with it.
“We know that the more people interact with the youth justice system, the greater the likelihood is that they will return, and the more likely that through this process, they will become disconnected from education, family, and other key anchors to their community.
“Evidence shows that there are real alternatives to our incarceration-reliant system that lead to better long-term results and genuinely improve community safety. We look forward to further consultation with the Tasmanian government on their plans for youth justice.”
The Justice Reform Initiative is a multi-partisan alliance supported by more than 100 of our most eminent Australians, including two former Governors-General, former Members of Parliament from all sides of politics, academics, respected Aboriginal leaders, senior former judges, including High Court judges, and others who have added their voices to end Australia’s dangerously high reliance on jails.
Our Tasmanian patrons include:
- Greg Barns SC, barrister, commentator and spokesperson on criminal justice for the Australian Lawyers Alliance
- The Honourable Lara Giddings, former Premier and Attorney General of Tasmania
- Adjunct Associate Professor Terese Henning, Former Director of the Tasmania Law Reform Institute
- Michael Hill, former Chief Magistrate of Tasmania and Former Acting Justice of the Supreme Court of Tasmania. Currently Adjunct Professor within the Faculty of Law at the University of Tasmania and Chair of the Just Deserts Drug Court Support Group.
- The Rt Revd Dr Chris Jones, Vicar General and Assistant Bishop Anglican Diocese of Tasmania and CEO of Anglicare Tasmania
- Christine Milne AO, former Senator for Tasmania and leader the Australian Greens and current Global Greens Ambassador
- The Rt Honourable Lord Mayor of Hobart, Councillor Anna Reynolds
- The Honourable Denise Swan, Former Minister (Community Development, Status of Women, Aboriginal Affairs, Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs, and Local Government) and Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly
- Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, Head Patron, former Governor of Tasmania,
- Professor Rob White FASSA FANZSOC, Distinguished Professor of Criminology, School of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania
- The Honourable Jim Wilkinson, former President Tasmanian Legislative Council, President of the Tasmanian Football Board and former partner of the law firm Wallace Wilkinson & Webster
Source: Tasmanian Times https://www.tasmaniantimes.com/2021/09/ashley-youth-detention-centre-to-close/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ashley-youth-detention-centre-to-close