Children pinned to floor and forced to wear spit hoods at South Australian detention centre

The Guardian 1 month ago

Children as young as 13 were pinned on the floor by youth justice workers and forced to wear spit hoods in a South Australian detention centre, a report by the state’s ombudsman has found.

SA is the last state in Australia to permit the use of spit hoods in youth detention centres after their use in the Northern Territory’s Don Dale youth detention centre was exposed and sparked a royal commission in 2016.

The Northern Territory is still fighting a civil case on the use of spit hoods.

The Marshall government has given an in-principle commitment to phase out the use of the hoods by 5 September next year.

Ombudsman Wayne Lines recommended the use of spit hoods be phased out within a year and the devices be removed from the list of approved mechanical restraints in youth detention facilities.

Prison staff enter an isolation cell with a child wearing a spit hood. Photograph: Supplied

In a report released this week, he said their use was “inherently traumatic” and not consistent with the “objects and guiding principles of the youth justice system”.

Spit hoods have been used at the Adelaide Youth Training Centre (AYTC) since 2014 and their use has been recorded since 2016. Between October 2016 and June 2019 they were used on 57 occasions against 22 kids. One-third of all reported uses of spit hoods were against the one child, who was placed in a spit hood 19 times in nine months.

Lines said the hoods were also in breach of international rules around the treatment of prisoners and increased the risk of potentially fatal asphyxiation because children were often pinned in a prone position by several adults to get the hood on their head. The use of spit hoods has been linked to deaths in custody in the UK and United States.

Lines reviewed the CCTV of 12 incidents where spit hoods were applied, during which children aged between 12 and 17 were restrained by a number of adult staff members.

In one case, a 13-year-old girl was pinned to the floor by five staff members who put a spit hood on her head and handcuffed her hands behind her back, after she refused to go to bed.

In another, 12 staff members went into a cell of a 17-year-old boy, which was not covered by CCTV, and emerged four minutes later with the boy handcuffed and wearing a spit hood. Both the boy and one staff member were later taken to hospital for assessment.

In every case but one, the child was forced to the floor at some point during the interaction.

Five workers hold a 13-year-old child to the floor as a spit hood is applied.

“Children thrash about at the sight of the implement; some appear to be taken by surprise as it passes over their eyes; many appear to be crying when it is finally removed,” Lines said.

“Having reviewed the footage supplied to my investigation, I have no doubt that the application of a spit hood is an inherently traumatic event for the child or young person involved.”

Other states require that staff wear safety goggles and disposable surgical masks when handling detainees to mitigate the risk of contracting a blood-borne disease.

The SA Department of Human Services, which manages the facility, accepted in-principle recommendations to phase out spit hoods but said that removing them as an option was “problematic at this time” in “a very specific and limited set of circumstances where other methods such as personal protective equipment are not viable or available”.

It did not accept a recommendation that legislation governing the management of youth justice facilities should be amended to prohibit or significantly restrict the use of force.

Two-thirds of the detainees at AYTC are Indigenous. Cheryl Axleby, co-chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service, said she was “horrified” by the report.

“These primary school-aged kids were treated worse than animals,” Axleby said. “They were pinned down and subject to risk of asphyxiation, which would cause immense trauma.”

Source link
Read also:
New York Post › Sports › 3 weeks ago
A Bills fan claimed Sunday that Dolphins safety Bobby McCain spit on him and threatened to spit on a nearby 13-year-old boy who was heckling the player from the stands in Buffalo. The alleged incident — reminiscent of a famous “Seinfeld” episode...
The Sydney Morning Herald › Incident › 1 month ago
Bulgaria is set to release Jock Palfreeman from an immigration detention centre, more than three weeks after a court granted parole to the Australian convicted of murder, a senior interior ministry official said.
Breitbart › Politics › 3 weeks ago
Tuesday, Rep Al Green (D-TX) condemned President Donald Trump, referring to the impeachment inquiry as a "lynching" during his speech on the House floor. | Clips
The Sun › 3 days ago
AN AUTISTIC schoolboy died after three members of staff pinned him down for two hours as he vomited and wet himself. Tragic Max Benson, 13, died in November 2018 after he was restrained face down on the floor at private Guiding Hands School in El...
The Guardian › 1 month ago
Upon his release from immigration detention in Sofia, the Australian who spent 11 years in prison for fatally stabbing a Bulgarian student says he would prefer to stay in Bulgaria
Chicago Tribune › 1 month ago
The Australian foreign minister said Saturday an Australian-British blogger and her finance were released in Iran after three months of detention.
The Sun › 1 week ago
MANY children around the world experience getting bullied at school. Bullying UK is fighting to change that, and created Wear Blue Day in efforts of raising awareness of the issue. When is Wear Blue Day 2019? This year’s Wear Blue Day lands on Friday...
The Sun › Traveling › 3 weeks ago
A DISNEY WORLD guest was caught filling his water bottle up from a public water feature, much to the horror of other guests. The man was then spotted drinking from the bottle – despite the fountain potentially containing “bird s**t and adult spit...
The Inquisitr › Politics › 1 month ago
A supporter of President Donald Trump was spit on by a protestor outside the president’s Minneapolis, Minnesota rally earlier this week, according to a report from Fox News. The man, identified by the cable news network as David Carlson, was being...
New York Post › 3 weeks ago
The second shove victim of serial subway menace Isaiah Thompson told The Post Saturday that he was allegedly attacked because he told the subterranean scourge not to spit on the platform. The 58-year-old victim, who The Post has chosen not to identify...
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google