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Tas detention centre staff under spotlight

AAP logoAAP 16/08/2016 By Andrew Drummond

CCTV footage from a Tasmanian youth detention centre has raised concerns about the conduct of staff, says a government minister who has requested an expert review.

Before the release of disturbing images from Darwin's Don Dale youth detention centre, a "series of incidents" at northern Tasmania's Ashley Youth Detention Centre on July 14 and 15 put at risk the safety of inmates and staff, Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma told parliament on Tuesday.

"Following these incidents, footage from 15 of Ashley Youth Detention Centre's 46 cameras, covering a period of approximately 48 hours, was reviewed to ensure that the circumstances and context of the events were understood.

"Following this review concerns have been raised regarding the appropriateness of the conduct of staff during these incidents."

The footage does not show any stripping, tying, gagging or mechanical restraint, such as that seen at Don Dale, Ms Petrusma said.

"Unlike the Northern Territory, Tasmania's youth justice system does not permit the use of spit hoods, tear gas or mechanical restraint chairs.

"However based on the concerns raised a request has been made to the department of justice recently in obtaining independent expert advice on the appropriateness of the actions of staff."

She expects to receive preliminary advice by Friday.

Ashley Youth Detention Centre is the subject of a state government review, announced in early 2016, when the Liberal administration deemed the centre did not meet contemporary expectations.

The treatment of boys at Don Dale has attracted widespread condemnation, including from the United Nations.

The revelations led to the federal government's announcement of a royal commission into youth detention.

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