Oversight of Bimberi Youth Justice Centre commences

9 Dec 2019

The ACT Inspector of Correctional Services has preventive oversight of youth detention places, services, young detainees and youth detention officers from 7 December 2019. This means the Inspector can look at systemic issues but cannot handle individual complaints.

The Inspector will be required to examine and review Bimberi Youth Justice Centre at least once every 2 years. Planning is underway for the first of these reviews to be conducted in late 2020. The Healthy Prison test used in the recent Healthy Prison Review of the Alexander Maconochie Centre will be adapted to suit reviews of youth detention.

The Inspector will also be able to review critical incidents that occur at Bimberi to look at any steps that could be taken to prevent reoccurrences. This includes escapes from custody, riots resulting in significant disruption to the centre and assaults that result in admission to hospital.

The powers that the Inspector has in relation to the Alexander Maconochie Centre will also apply to Bimberi. For example, staff from the Office of the Inspector of Correctional Services (OICS) will be able to enter Bimberi, talk to young detainees and staff, and inspect any relevant documents.

The ACT Inspector of Correctional Services, Neil McAllister said, “Youth detention presents unique challenges, especially in the ACT’s small jurisdiction.”

“We will continue to consult with other oversight bodies and community sector organisations who work in Bimberi to inform our work.”

“The focus of our reviews is always prevention and continual improvement and we look forward to applying that focus to Bimberi Youth Justice Centre.”

A full-time Assistant Inspector has commenced at OICS to plan for the increase in the Inspector’s oversight.