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WA guard hurt while restraining juvenile

AAP logoAAP 13/09/2016

A prison officer at Banksia Hill Detention Centre in Perth has suffered a broken arm and dislocated elbow while trying to restrain a 17-year-old detainee.

The Community and Public Sector Union said the detainee had been throwing rocks at staff on Sunday before attacking the officer, and was allegedly one of the teenagers involved in a riot two weeks ago.

The officer was taken to Armadale Hospital and later transferred to Royal Perth Hospital for surgery.

Corrective Services Commissioner James McMahon confirmed the officer had been injured and the incident had been referred to police, adding the department took the matter very seriously.

CPSU assistant secretary Michelle Sheehy said Banksia Hill was undergoing a "transformation process", which involved a softer approach with detainees.

She said officers agreed in principle with an approach centred around rehabilitation, counselling and education, but there had been less harsh penalties for misbehaviours and detainees appeared to be taking advantage of the "soft-handed" approach.

"Incidents in recent weeks include the trashing of two units causing upward of $200,000 damage, using objects as projectiles against staff and most recently, significant injury to an officer," she said.

But Mr McMahon said while the number of strip searches and times young people were restrained had been reduced, the rehabilitative and a trauma-informed model was better for the children.

"If banning spit hoods and reducing strip searches of children is 'soft', then yes we are 'soft' on children and will continue with the transformation," he said.

"The model that the union wants to go back to resulted in 75 per cent of young people leaving detention returning to detention.

"If we continue doing the same things being pushed for by the union we will get the same results and the young people and the community will suffer."

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