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BANKSIA HILL DETENTION CENTRE (BHDC)

& the over-representation of First Nations Peoples in custody is a national disgrace.

Register your details below to be part of the change #BeenToBanksia

All those who have been detained at Banksia Hill Detention Centre are eligible to register for the potential class action (not just First Nation Peoples).

BANKSIA HILL DETENTION CENTRE (BHDC)

& the over-representation of First Nation Peoples in custody is a national disgrace.

Register your details below to join others also affected by Banksia Hill Detention Centre.

All those who have been detained at Banksia Hill Detention Centre are eligible to register for the potential class action (not just First Nation Peoples).

Artwork by @RAY LALOTOA

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There is strength in numbers. The more individuals that register, the stronger our case becomes and the greater the pressure we can put on the Western Australian Government. Please encourage anybody else that you know who has been detained at BHJD to get in touch.
There is strength in numbers. The more individuals that register, the stronger our case becomes and the greater the pressure we can put on the Western Australian Government. Please encourage anybody else that you know who has been detained at BHJD to get in touch.
Have you (or a family member) been detained in BHDC? If so, please register your details. We would like to speak to you about your experiences, with a view to commencing class action proceedings on your behalf.

The goal of these proceedings will be:

  1. Compensation for damage(s) suffered as a result of your time in BHDC; and
  2. To stop this from happening to other First Nations youth by bringing about institutional change.
Have you (or a family member) been detained in BHDC? If so, please register your details. We would like to speak to you about your experiences, with a view to commencing class action proceedings on your behalf.

The goal of these proceedings will be:

  1. Compensation for damage(s) suffered as a result of your time in BHDC; and
  2. To stop this from happening to other First Nations youth by bringing about institutional change.
rs Palm Island (5 of 116)

Mistreatment of Detainees held in BHDC

An Amnesty International Report (16 January, 2018) alleged that children detained in BHDC were subjected to:

  • Inhumane treatment (denied exercise; fed through a grille in a door; forced to ‘earn bedding’)
  • Solitary confinement in the Intensive Support Unit (ISU)
  • Excessive use of restraints
  • Denied access to education
  • Deprived of family contact

Education at BHDC has been recognised as substandard for many years  (Inspection of Banksia Hill Detention Centre, 2018).

  • “The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services, released Tuesday, showed 28 Aboriginal school-aged children and four non-Indigenous youths did not receive an education while at Banksia Hill Detention Centre in 2017-18” (Western Australia Today, January 22, 2019).

There are concerningly high rates of mental health issues amongst the youth detained at BHDC:

  • From 2016 through the first quarter of 2017, there were 272 examples of self-harm (a dramatic increase on the numbers reported in previous years) and six suicide attempts.

BHDC is punitive rather than rehabilitative in focus, making it a ‘pipeline’ to adult prisons:

  • “For young Aboriginal people the rate of returning to prison is particularly alarming, being 25 percentage points higher than the non-Aboriginal recidivism rate. Only 26 percent of Aboriginal prisoners less than 24 years old were in prison for the first time, compared to 74 percent of non-Aboriginal prisoners in the same group” (OICS Report, September 2014).
  • “More than half of sentenced youths in WA re-offended within 12 months and around one in every three youth offenders failed to complete their community-based orders” (WA Today).
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Timeline of Class Action Proceedings

  • Register your details with Class PR.

  • Class PR liaises with Levitt Robinson to select a Lead Applicant(s) to represent the rest of the group for the duration of the case. Solicitors choose the Lead Applicant based upon it featuring most, if not all, of the examples of BHJD’s failings.

  • Sign a funding agreement.

  • Once we have established enough interest in the action, we will officially commence proceedings and ask that you sign a funding agreement between you and a third-party litigation funder, who is footing the bill. This means you do not have to spend any of your own money to be involved and are protected from any liability for the other side’s costs.

  • In the event that the group wins, the funder is entitled to recover the legal costs, and to take a ‘funder’s premium’, usually 30%. The remaining 70% of the settlement money is divided between you and other group members. The amount you receive is calculated based upon your individual claims and/or particular losses.

  • In the event that the group loses, you are not liable to pay any money whatsoever towards the proceedings.

  • Register your details with Class PR.

  • Class PR liaises with Levitt Robinson to select a Lead Applicant(s) to represent the rest of the group for the duration of the case. Solicitors choose the Lead Applicant based upon it featuring most, if not all, of the examples of BHJD’s failings.

  • Sign a funding agreement.

  • Once we have established enough interest in the action, we will officially commence proceedings and ask that you sign a funding agreement between you and a third-party litigation funder, who is footing the bill. This means you do not have to spend any of your own money to be involved and are protected from any liability for the other side’s costs.

  • In the event that the group wins, the funder is entitled to recover the legal costs, and to take a ‘funder’s premium’, usually 30%. The remaining 70% of the settlement money is divided between you and other group members. The amount you receive is calculated based upon your individual claims and/or particular losses.

  • In the event that the group loses, you are not liable to pay any money whatsoever towards the proceedings.

Mistreatment of Detainees held in BHDC

An Amnesty International Report (16 January, 2018) alleged that children detained in BHDC were subjected to:

  • Inhumane treatment (denied exercise; fed through a grille in a door; forced to ‘earn bedding’)
  • Solitary confinement in the Intensive Support Unit (ISU)
  • Excessive use of restraints
  • Denied access to education
  • Deprived of family contact

Education at BHJC has been recognised as substandard for many years  (Inspection of Banksia Hill Detention Centre, 2018).

  • “The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services, released Tuesday, showed 28 Aboriginal school-aged children and four non-Indigenous youths did not receive an education while at Banksia Hill Detention Centre in 2017-18” (Western Australia Today, January 22, 2019).

There are concerningly high rates of mental health issues amongst the youth detained at BHDC:

  • From 2016 through the first quarter of 2017, there were 272 examples of self-harm (a dramatic increase on the numbers reported in previous years) and six suicide attempts.

BHDC is punitive rather than rehabilitative in focus, making it a ‘pipeline’ to adult prisons:

  • “For young Aboriginal people the rate of returning to prison is particularly alarming, being 25 percentage points higher than the non-Aboriginal recidivism rate. Only 26 percent of Aboriginal prisoners less than 24 years old were in prison for the first time, compared to 74 percent of non-Aboriginal prisoners in the same group” (OICS Report, September 2014).
  • “More than half of sentenced youths in WA re-offended within 12 months and around one in every three youth offenders failed to complete their community-based orders” (WA Today).
rs MAN IN CELL 2021 1 (1)

Western Australia has the highest rate of Indigenous incarceration in Australia

According to the most recent available census data, the population of Western Australia (WA) is just shy of 2.5 million. Of this 2.5 million, people of First Nations heritage account for only 3.1% of the population (Australian Bureau of Statistics).

WA imprisons First Nations peoples at a higher rate than any other state or territory, with 4.1% of its First Nations population behind bars, compared to 2.9% in the Northern Territory and a national rate of 2.6%.

Despite accounting for such a small part of the population, recent statistics supplied by the Department of Justice in WA show that within the adult prison population, almost 40% of prisoners are First Nations peoples (WA DOJ Adult Prisoners).

There is greater disproportion where youth offenders are concerned.First Nations peoples making up over two-thirds (68.67%) of juvenile detainees in WA. (WA DOJ Youth Detainees).

rs MOTHER AND CHILDREN 2021 1

Western Australia has the highest rate of Indigenous incarceration in Australia

According to the most recent available census data, the population of Western Australia (WA) is just shy of 2.5 million. Of this 2.5 million, people of First Nations heritage account for only 3.1% of the population (Australian Bureau of Statistics).

WA imprisons First Nations peoples at a higher rate than any other state or territory, with 4.1% of its First Nations population behind bars, compared to 2.9% in the Northern Territory and a national rate of 2.6%.

Despite accounting for such a small part of the population, recent statistics supplied by the Department of Justice in WA show that within the adult prison population, almost 40% of prisoners are First Nations peoples (WA DOJ Adult Prisoners).

There is greater disproportion where youth offenders are concerned.First Nations peoples making up over two-thirds (68.67%) of juvenile detainees in WA. (WA DOJ Youth Detainees).

Reasons for Indigenous Over-representation in Western Australia

The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services (January 2019) revealed WA was one of only two jurisdictions nationwide to reduce funding to its youth justice services between 2016-17 and 2017-18. During this period WA cut $1.2 million from its detention and diversion programs, and community-based orders and services.

These funding cuts are at odds with the Australian Law Reform Commission’s recommendations that “Commonwealth, state and territory governments should support justice reinvestment trials initiated in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including through:

  • facilitating access to localised data related to criminal justice and other relevant government service provision, and associated costs;
  • supporting local justice reinvestment initiatives; and
  • facilitating participation by, and coordination between, relevant government departments and agencies.”(ALRC “Pathway to Justice Inquiry”, 2018)

To combat the over-representation of First Nations people in the WA justice system, there needs to be a shift from a punitive model to a therapeutic approach that supports children who offend in the first place. The WA government needs to fund Indigenous-led programs, which will help Indigenous children to thrive in their communities rather than languish in detention centres. 

rs MAN IN CELL 2021 1 (1)

Reasons for Indigenous Over-representation in Western Australia

The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services (January 2019) revealed WA was one of only two jurisdictions nationwide to reduce funding to its youth justice services between 2016-17 and 2017-18. During this period WA cut $1.2 million from its detention and diversion programs, and community-based orders and services.

These funding cuts are at odds with the Australian Law Reform Commission’s recommendations that “Commonwealth, state and territory governments should support justice reinvestment trials initiated in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including through:

  • facilitating access to localised data related to criminal justice and other relevant government service provision, and associated costs;
  • supporting local justice reinvestment initiatives; and
  • facilitating participation by, and coordination between, relevant government departments and agencies.”(ALRC “Pathway to Justice Inquiry”, 2018)

To combat the over-representation of First Nations people in the WA justice system, there needs to be a shift from a punitive model to a therapeutic approach that supports children who offend in the first place. The WA government needs to fund Indigenous-led programs, which will help Indigenous children to thrive in their communities rather than languish in detention centres. 

There really is strength in numbers

The more ex-BHDC detainees we register, the greater the pressure on the WA Government to be held to account.

Rest assured, all communications between you and Class PR are confidential and we will never disclose your identity without your express permission.

“We’re saying they’re bad kids. What we should be saying is these kids are crying out for support and we need to be providing it.”

  • Denis Reynolds, judge and ex-president of the children’s court in WA for 14 years.

Young, Black and Behind Bars: 101 East investigates Australia’s Indigenous Incarceration Crisis – YouTube

There really is strength in numbers

The more ex-BHDC detainees we register, the greater the pressure on the WA Government to be held to account.

Rest assured, all communications between you and Class PR are confidential and we will never disclose your identity without your express permission.

“We’re saying they’re bad kids. What we should be saying is these kids are crying out for support and we need to be providing it.”

  • Denis Reynolds, judge and ex-president of the children’s court in WA for 14 years.

Young, Black and Behind Bars: 101 East investigates Australia’s Indigenous Incarceration Crisis – YouTube

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FAQs

  • If you’ve spent time at BHJD, you are likely to be a group member.  There are time limits on bringing claims but we would rather you you got in touch so that we may make an application for an extension of time on your behalf. 

  • If you’ve spent time at BHJD, you are likely to be a group member.  There are time limits on bringing claims but we would rather you you got in touch so that we may make an application for an extension of time on your behalf.