Three prison workers at the Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre, Kariong, were injured after intervening in a brawl between detainees on January 7.
NSW Juvenile Justice confirmed that three employees had been injured in the altercation, with a spokesperson asserting that all Juvenile Justice staff were highly trained to defuse situations in custody. The same spokesperson confirmed that all three staffers were currently receiving medical treatment for their injuries and that one staff member had been hospitalised. “Juvenile Justice takes the safety and security of staff very seriously and will review the incident,” the spokesperson said. Public Service Association spokesman, Mr Stewart Little, said the incident highlighted the need for purpose-built facilities to house juvenile offenders with violent histories, and those that spark similar incidents.
“Presently high-risk violent offenders are among the general cohort of offenders in juvenile detention,” Mr Little said. “There is a clear need for purpose-built facilities and specified training to deal with high risk and violent offenders. “Staff deserve to feel safe in their own workplaces and the incident at Kariong proves they’re not,” Mr Little continued. According to Mr Little, the Kariong incident was just the latest in a string of assaults by high-risk offenders in juvenile facilities and that this was unlikely to change due to the Royal Commission currently investigating juvenile care in the Northern Territory. “It’s just simply not good enough to have violent offenders and offenders that have been charged with very serious crimes such as terrorist-related activity housed with the general juvenile facility,” Mr Little said.
“It’s especially frustrating when these facilities are not even that costly to produce and are being held up by an inquiry into a different state’s system. “They could be housed within existing facilities and this would separate high risk offenders from the general ones and provide clearer expectations to staff about what to expect,” Mr Little said. Mr Little also said that one of the injured workers, whose leg was broken in the altercation, received emergency medical treatment in Gosford Hospital.
Media statement, Jan 9, 2016 Louisa Dear, NSW Juvenile Justice Interview, Jan 9, 2017 Stewart Little, Public Service Association Dilon Luke, Journalist