Detention Centre needs ministerial intervention

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has called for urgent ministerial intervention into the toxic situation at Cleveland Youth Detention Centre.

NEWLY-appointed Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard must intervene directly in operations at Cleveland Youth Detention Centre before a riot breaks out, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

Mr Dametto said it was clear the centre had become a “basket case” after media reports today that  fed up staff were scared to come to work and fears a riot could break out, similar to the one seen in 2016.

“It was sickening to read that report this morning and even more disturbing to read that inmates are planning to take a female officer hostage,” he said.

“This State Labor Government needs to stop listening to the do-gooders who try and justify this inmate behaviour with sob stories. Assaulting staff is not ok. Threatening staff is not ok. The Government is responsible for allowing the Centre to become an unsafe work environment and they need to fix the mess they have created.”

In September, Mr Dametto called for the Department of Youth Justice to undertake an urgent review of operations amid allegations that family members of officers injured by inmates at the Centre were being called to collect them in order to avoid an ambulance being called.

“Unfortunately, it seems the situation has only got worse since that time as assaults on officers have continued. Management has lost control of these kids, who seem to be operating with little rules or consequences. The Minister needs to head this off now as a matter of urgency before we have another riot break out,” he said.

“Officers should be empowered to take appropriate disciplinary action whenever an inmate assaults staff. Right now, staff are being treated like punching bags. It’s unacceptable and disgusting that the Department is allowing this sort of behaviour from inmates to continue.”

Mr Dametto said the situation at the detention centre just proved Katter’s Australian Party’s relocation sentencing policy, which would send hardcore recidivist offenders to a remote property at Lake Julius west of Mt Isa, was needed.

“The KAP’s policy would instil discipline and respect in inmates in order to avoid debacles like Cleveland,” he said.

“When you’re out on the land doing six to 12 months of hard work and training, there won’t be any time to get up to mischief.

“Labor’s youth crime policy is a trainwreck and the people of Townsville are left with the mess. Property owners, businesses and residents are among those left to battle juvenile offenders as they run rampant on our streets every night.

“The government has a duty of care to protect the community. They seem to have forgotten that.”

Nick Dametto MP