Another youth detention centre riot in Melbourne

A report says violence is commonplace in Victoria's youth justice system.

A report says violence is commonplace in Victoria's youth justice system. Photo: Channel Nine

Victoria’s beleaguered youth justice system is under pressure again after young offenders rioted at Barwon prison.

The disturbance came as separately thousands of Werribee residents rallied against the plan to build a new youth detention centre there.

Emergency services were called to the Grevillea unit of Barwon prison near Geelong at about 7.30pm Monday after up to 20 youths being detained there started fighting.

The corrections Victoria emergency-response staff and Department of Health and Human Services youth justice workers brought the situation under control shortly before 10:00pm.

No one was seriously injured, but one worker sustained facial injuries after an object was thrown at him.

A spokesperson said the incident was confined to the grounds of the youth justice precinct and police were investigating.

On Monday, the Supreme Court was told capsicum spray had been used on a number of occasions on youths at Barwon in the past two weeks.

Riots last year in Malmsbury and Parkville youth detention centres prompted the Victorian government to move some young offenders to the Grevillea Unit at Barwon, gazetting it as a youth justice centre.

Adult inmates were moved elsewhere in the prison.

Meanwhile, Werribee residents are angry that they weren’t consulted over plans to ease the youth detention crisis by building a new centre in the outer-Melbourne suburb.

Angry locals turned out at the rally on Monday night over the state government’s plan to build a 244-bed youth detention centre in the suburb.

Mayor Henry Barlow told the crowd the community needed to fight to protect what it had worked so hard to build.

“This site is the gateway to our tourist precinct, and the prison is the first thing people will see when they drive in,” Mr Barlow said.

A petition signed by thousands of residents will be presented to state parliament next week.

At Malmsbury, about 30 inmates were involved in a riot at the centre on January 25 before 15 youths escaped in a mass breakout from the facility, sparking a mini-crime spree before they were all eventually recaptured.

The latest riot comes just a week The New Daily’s exclusive report that increasing numbers juveniles are subjected to severe punishments including isolation.

The figures, obtained by TND  under Freedom of Information laws, revealed severe measures in Victoria’s beleaguered youth justice system surged in the year after the Andrews government came to power.

Parkville youth detention centre

Damage to the Parkville youth justice centre after riots last year. Photo: AAP

The previously unpublished data shows that 237 youths aged 10 to 17 were held in isolation in 2015 – Premier Andrews’ first full year in office – up 40 per cent from the 170 in the previous 12 months.

The practice, where a detainee is separated from other inmates and locked in a secure room, is banned as punishment for minors under Victorian law, but may be used where people or property are under threat and all other steps have failed.

– With AAP, ABC

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