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Youth detention in the NT: the issues

AAP logoAAP 25/07/2016

NT YOUTH DETENTION - THE ISSUES

WHAT THE ABC FOOTAGE SHOWED:

* Children kept in solitary confinement without natural light, running water or airflow and smelling of urine.

* A boy, 13, tackled, lifted and hurled across a room (2010).

* The same boy stripped naked at Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre (2011) and in another incident, kneed and knocked to the floor.

* Same boy, by then 17, hooded, shackled to a "mechanical device" chair and left alone for two hours (2015).

* Six boys tear-gassed at Darwin's Don Dale Youth Detention Centre after one escaped his unlocked isolation cell (2014).

* A boy, 14, being transferred to an adult prison wearing a "spit hood", a sack like mask fitting over the head (2014)

* A guard saying "I'll pulverise the f***er" as a youth in isolation bangs at the windows (2014).

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RESPONSE:

* Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a royal commission.

"We want to know how this came about, we want to know what lessons can be learned from it, we want to know why there were inquiries into this centre which did not turn up the evidence and the information that we saw on Four Corners last night."

THE NORTHERN TERRITORY GOVERNMENT RESPONSE:

* Chief Minister Adam Giles asked the NT police commissioner to investigate whether centre officers committed crimes.

"I have full confidence in the majority of custodial officers working in the Northern Territory's institutions. They have a challenging and difficult job, one that not many people wish to do. To those officers I want to say, you have my full support for the work that you do in upholding our laws."

EARLIER INVESTIGATIONS:

* A 2015 independent review commissioned by the NT government found no evidence of a "systemic culture of unreasonable use of force" except in some isolated cases.

* NT Children's Commissioner Howard Bath in 2012 investigated the prolonged mistreatment of one boy. The report was never made public.

(Sources: ABC Four Corners, federal and NT governments)

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