Kids locked in jail cell isolation 24/7
By Bill Rowlings, CEO of CLA
There are 127 young inmates and 525 staff members undergoing coronavirus testing at Brisbane’s youth jail in late August 2020.
The inmates, 100 males, 17 females and some as young as 13, are locked in isolation in individual cells. (Children as young as 10 can be held in the jail).
Some 40% of the inmates (abut 55 of them) are Indigenous (Indigenous people comprise about 3% of the Australian population).
A child’s cell at the centre (Qld prisons photo).
The mental health of all locked-in-isolation children 24/7n will be deteriorating.
”We know with anybody in solitary confinement that their mental health will decompose within 48 hours…and we’re talking about children,” founder of Sisters Inside, Debbie Kilroy, said.
A 77-year-old female supervisor in the operations room at Brisbane Youth Detention Centre in Wacol tested positive after working five shifts at the centre.
Because of that, the Brisbane children’s jail is closed down.
Authorities have also stopped personal visits to Arthur Gorrie, Brisbane, Borallon, Brisbane Women’s, Southern Queensland and Wolston prisons. Thousands of prisoners are cut off from seeing their children and from family support.
Huge cost of jailing children
The inmate to staff ratio at the youth jail indicates why locking up kids is so expensive.
An adult prisoner costs about $110,000 a year to keep in jail. The cost to keep a child in youth jail is three-to-six times that amount, from about $300,000 to $600,000 per child in different states and territories.
Politicians wanting election or re-election are good at making media headlines. They demand mandatory sentences, three-strikes-and-you’re-out laws, and jailing children 10-13 years old under archaic age of criminal responsibility laws.
Remember, CLA says, every extra adult locked up for a year costs taxpayers $110,000; every child locked up costs $300,000 or more.
To solve the current Brisbane youth jail contamination problem, Queensland prison authorities are planning to send Brisbane and south-east youths to Townsville to be locked up, adding significantly to costs.
It will also lock the children away 1000 kilometres from their parents and siblings.
Source: https://tinyurl.com/y4a8ghg9 24 August 2020
Spending on youth jails: https://tinyurl.com/y6my63uc
What it is like for kids in jail: https://tinyurl.com/yx9bvn7v