Don Dale: Youth detainees set to return to damaged facility after eight-hour riot
Rioters set the facility’s school on fire and used angle grinders to cut fences in an attempt to escape. (ABC News: Mitch Woolnough)
Up to 25 youth detainees could be transferred to the troubled Don Dale detention facility by the end of the week, authorities say, as the scale of the damage from Tuesday’s riot is revealed.
- One block of the damaged Don Dale detention centre expected to be operational by Friday
- Up to 25 youth detainees could be transferred back to the facility by the end of the week
- Criminal lawyers call for detainees to be removed from the police watch house
In the early hours of Wednesday, police released tear gas on Don Dale Youth Detention Centre detainees who escaped from their cells, set the facility’s school on fire and used angle grinders to cut fences in an attempt to escape.
Northern Territory Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison said she was optimistic one block of the facility would be back online by Friday afternoon.
“And certainly by the end of the weekend, we’d expect to have the majority of detainees back out there,” she said.
Territory Families regained operation of the facility on Thursday. (ABC News: Mitch Woolnough)
“We are, however, having a look at four to five of those detainees. We are having a look at their management plans and how they get reintegrated back into Don Dale.
“Because these are probably the four or five that did not behave in an acceptable manner the other night, that led the issues at Don Dale.”
Detainees stuck in ‘draconian’ conditions, lawyer says
Ms Manison said staff were on the ground to ensure the facility would be up and running as soon as possible.
In the meantime, the remainder of the detainees will continue to be kept in the Darwin police watch house.
“The watch house in not a fit place for children,” lawyer Jaryd Sharp said.
“They don’t have enough blankets, they’re cold, they don’t have pillows, they don’t have sheets.
“I mean, this is draconian stuff, and it’s the opposite of what the royal commission called on us to do.”
Authorities hope to have detainees back inside the facility by the end of the week. (ABC News: Mitch Woolnough)
It is a sentiment echoed by the Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory.
President Marty Aust said alternative arrangements needed to be found.
“This Government thinks it can create a situation where a watch house is somewhere where children can be detained,” he said.
“If they can gazette the watch house, why can’t they gazette the bail accommodation residence?”
Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said it was a “short-term interim measure”, and the police watch house was the “safest place” to house detainees in the meantime.
Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said staff were working to get the facility operational as soon as possible. (ABC News: Mitch Woolnough)