Violence at Cobham overnight the latest in juvenile justice crisis - Public Service Association

News

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Violence at Cobham overnight the latest in juvenile justice crisis


Three officers at Cobham Juvenile Justice Centre were assaulted overnight, highlighting the daily violence workers face across NSW’s juvenile justice system.
On Wednesday morning staff at Cobham held a stop-work meeting, following an assault by an A1B class inmate (high-risk offender). On Tuesday night, two officers were bitten and punched, and a third had blood spat on his face.

General secretary of the Public Service Association, Stewart Little, said violence in NSW’s juvenile justice centres is daily.

“Officers at Cobham, and across NSW, face daily violence, including spitting, punching and biting, because high-risk offenders are able to move within the general population,” Mr Little said.

“I invite Steven Southgate and David Elliott to come and spend a shift with us at Cobham Juvenile Justice Centre. Afterwards they can tell us if they still think ‘consultation’ about high-risk offender units is the appropriate course of action.

“We need juvenile detention centres with special units that can manage high-risk detainees who present an acute threat to themselves and others, and we need them now. We’ve been asking for this since February 2017.

“PSA members are tired of the government and the department’s lip service promising consultation – it has been going on for two years. It’s time for action, before it’s too late and there is permanent damage, possibly even death.

“They are risking further blood on their hands.

“In adult correctional centres, inmates are classed and managed depending on their risk, but this doesn’t happen with young offenders. Instead the worst-of-the-worst young offenders bounce between juvenile justice centres across the state, and are offered minimal rehabilitative services.

“This impacts on the young people who’ve made wrong decisions and are trying to turn their lives around, and it impacts on the officers who face unpredictable and explosive violence on a daily basis.

“PSA is calling for therapeutic centres, which offers the kids proper services like counselling and education to help them, and the reintroducition of high-risk offender units, to help minimise the risk of particularly violent detainees.

“Currently, the way this system is working, the Berejiklian government is giving these kids nothing but a one-way ticket to the adult justice system.”

Media contact: Suze Metherell 0412 867 084