Yesterday, our network joined over 40 other organisations as well as justice advocates and academics, to endorse a joint submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19.
We share the concern around restrictions being put in place in some youth detention centres in Australia which have meant that children cannot have face to face visits and likely have limited access to face-to-face education other support services.
Our network also agrees that the mass use of solitary confinement must not be part of the response to COVID-19– often labelled as ‘protective quarantine’– as a primary response to COVID-19 in prisons and youth detention centres.
Examples of solitary confinement being used in response to COVID-19 include Queensland Corrective Services’ new isolation protocols, which require all new people entering high security centres to be placed into isolation for 14 days with no time out of cell. Similar measures have also been adopted by Corrections Victoria, with the establishment of ‘protective quarantine units’.
From the joint submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19
As stated in the submission, the pandemic presents an opportunity to rethink detention and sentencing policies generally, and to fully implement the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) regarding best practice in oversight and transparency of places of detention.
You can read the joint submission, which includes six recommendations here.