Shockingly, those detained at Unit 18 have been subject to even more punitive treatment than they were at Banksia Hill Detention Centre, as manifested in skyrocketing rates of self-harm and attempted suicide: between July 20 and August 8 2023, there were 13 incidents of self-harm and three attempted suicides, which coupled with the tragic death of 16-year-old indigenous detainee Cleveland Dodd, paints a grim picture of the systemic and individual failings of those tasked with the administration of Youth Justice Services in Western Australia.
And yet despite Premier Roger Cook’s recent admission that “Unit 18 does not meet our standards for care and safety” he justified its continued operation as a “necessary evil”.
Unit 18: in the media
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Levitt Robinson Solicitors has commenced separate proceedings in relation to Unit 18, in addition to the main Banksia Hill class action. To register for the Unit 18 class action, please click here. We appreciate that most, if not all, current and former detainees of Unit 18 have also been detained at Banksia Hill Detention Centre. If you are not already registered for the Banksia Hill class action, please click here.
*Parents, relatives, and/or partners of current or former detainees can register on behalf of those who cannot register themselves (for example, if they are currently in juvenile detention or prison).
Cleveland Dodd, Western Australia’s first juvenile death in custody
On 12 October 2023, the late Cleveland Dodd was found unresponsive in his cell in the notorious Unit 18 juvenile facility, which is located inside Casuarina maximum-security adult prison. He died a week later on 19 October 2023, aged 16, becoming the first child to die in juvenile detention in WA since records began.
An entirely foreseeable and preventable death
Two weeks before Cleveland’s death, lawyers wrote an urgent letter to the Deputy Corrective Services Commissioner, requesting he be moved back to Banksia Hill youth detention centre because of concerns for his mental health.
On the night of 12 October 2023, Cleveland two calls for help over the cell-call button went unanswered as custodial staff relaxed, watched movies, and even slept while on duty.
A coronial inquest into Cleveland’s death will be held, and a Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) investigation into alleged ‘serious misconduct’ by custodial staff is already underway.
Levitt Robinson Solicitors will be representing the family in the upcoming inquest, to follow its progress click here.