JJ - Comrie Review

Updated 22/04/2016

Government Acts - Sets up a Taskforce!
CPSU responds to the release of the State Government s response to Neil Comrie s review into the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre and releases our submission containing 9 recommendations for action to improve services.

Community and Public Sector Union State Secretary Karen Batt said she could hardly contain her disappointment at the outcome from an exercise that had promised to deliver so much more.

The government has found a miserly $4M per year for security capital upgrades at the site but there s;

• No funding for extra staff,
• No funding to address the inadequate physical facilities,
• No solution on dealing with the inappropriate client mix,
• No analysis of the impacts of 18-21yo now being held in juvenile facilities,
• No plan for dealing with the levels of violence and the growing drug problems of clients,
• No other location found for 4 of the 5 escapees,
• No Review Report Release.

The Comrie Report had found self evidently that a breach of security procedures had led to the escape of five (5) youths.

Karen Batt said, "finding a 2nd rosterd officer in the unit was overlooked by the Review's The only conclusion that could be drawn was that there was no value from the Comrie Review.

Click here to view CPSU's submission to the Comrie Review.

CPSU Recommendations

1. Provide new facilities to replace current inadequate infrastructure with state of the art buildings designed with security features commensurate with the clientele. Planning must include:

  • Security that has depth
  • Complimented with staff training
  • Reliable electronic measures e.g. Fire control
  • Adequate infrastructure to deal with situations, e.g. Isolation rooms where brick work doesn t move around doors when clients are kicking door
  • Specialist facilities for clients with psychiatric needs (perhaps similar to Thomas Embling) for this client group, and
  • In the interim, a comprehensive Occupational Health and Safety audit of all existing facilities to address immediate risks while government determines to support and then build new facilities.

2. Review of sentencing arrangements in consultation with the stakeholders and action be taken to ensure inappropriate clients are not given Youth Justice sentences that place staff at risk.

3. Review legislation to give Senior Management control of the Centres in terms of Safety and Security.

4. Appoint training managers to each centre and a training schedule be developed which is ongoing and addresses training at all levels.

5. Managers should also be supervised and receive training to address shortfalls in their skills or underperformance if required.

6. Managers must be accountable for the Health and Safety of staff and security of the units and Centres not only in legislation but within a supervision model.

7. Provision of ongoing training to all staff which is of a high standard and addresses the needs of the clients and facilitates the delivery of service with safety and security as the priority. Further that the expectation of Certificate IV be formalised.

8. Regular supervision and feedback to all staff to address underperformance issues in a timely manner. Career development should be part of that process.

9. That a staffing audit be conducted to determine current vacancies and assess the appropriateness of casual and fixed term staffing use. Further that a Memorandum of Understanding be developed to address staffing processes between DHS and CPSU.

Associated labels