The Western Australian Government's obsession with appearing to be tough on law and order has resulted in children being locked up in an adult prison, including minors who have not been sentenced, the Greens said today.
Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam threw his support behind legal action commencing today to remove dozens of teenagers from the high-security Hakea adult prison.
"The draconian three strikes legislation combined with the State Government's abysmal decision to place minors in Hakea could see children as young as ten thrown into an adult prison for three minor offences.
"There are children in Hakea prison on remand; children who will likely not be sentenced to a prison term are being kept in a high security adult prison. It is a bizarre and offensive situation, pointing to extraordinary mismanagement and a broken moral compass on the part of the State Government.
"Western Australia's prison inspector Neil Morgan has raised the alarm about the treatment of these minors. Does the Government seriously contend that time spent in the brutal atmosphere of an adult prison will help children avoid re-offending?
"The legality of keeping underage people in an adult prison is extremely dubious. The Government not only pulled this plan out of a moral abyss, it has also shown itself to be completely incompetent."
Senator Ludlam urged the Government to "find alternative arrangements for the underage prisoners immediately, rather than forcing these kids and their families to wait for the outcome of the legal challenge launched today".