Reports that juvenile offenders trashed their new accommodation at an adult facility by urinating on beds and smashing new televisions are “grossly inaccurate“, a Government department says.
More than 70 young offenders were moved out of Banksia Hill detention centre in the southern suburb of Canning Vale on January 21 after a violent armed mob went on a rampage.
They were moved to the nearby Hakea remand facility for adults but then allegedly went on to trash the unit.
West Australian Prison Officers Union secretary John Welch told AAP that one cell was covered in graffiti, beds were covered in urine, new television sets brought in for the juveniles were smashed and the entire area was left a dirty mess.
However, a Department of Corrective Services spokeswoman says the reports have been exaggerated.
“Those are grossly inaccurate and irresponsible media reports,“ she said.
The spokeswoman said there had been one case of graffiti, two cases of etching on beds and one television that needed to be repaired.
She said there was no case of urinating or defecating on mattresses.
Mr Welch said the juveniles had now been moved to brand new units at Hakea that were intended for adults.
One of the units had been used briefly by adults before, but the other had not been used at all.
Mr Welch said he expected the juveniles to remain at Hakea Prison for six to nine months, which would only put more stress on overcrowded prisons.
“We're dealing with a crisis so we're all doing the best we can,” he said.
“We shouldn't have juveniles in an adult prison, but the reason we're in a crisis is that we have nowhere else to send the juveniles.
“We did have one at Rangeview (Remand Centre), but the Government decided to close it.”
Mr Welch said he was not being critical of the State Government but noted that having juveniles in an adult facility was putting pressure on prison officers and a second juvenile facility was needed.
“Every time we have to move the juveniles, we have to lock down the adult prisoners,” he said.
“It is a crisis where the implications for adult prisoners are significant.”