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Jakarta Post

Letter: Child prisoners in Australia

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, September 7 2011   /  08:00 am

Nearly one hundred of the world’s most impoverished children are incarcerated, whether on remand or already sentenced, in Australian prisons. The majority of these children are being detained in Western Australian prisons intended for adults.

It has been confirmed to me by various authorities, and by an Indonesian vice consul, that at least 16 of the age-disputed prisoners are in Hakea Correctional facility, a maximum security prison which I have visited on a number of occasions over the years. There may be up to 40 age-disputed prisoners in Western Australian adult prisons.

On July 20, I spoke in person to Prime Minister Julia Gillard about this issue: of children being incarcerated in Australian adult prisons (an issue about which she has long known), as we were surrounded by various news media. As we held our handshake, our smiles froze into a startled lingering sile...