Minister questioned after first 10-year-old locked up in Don Dale since royal commission

Territory Families Minister Kate Worden (right) was questioned about the revalations in Question Time.
Territory Families Minister Kate Worden (right) was questioned about the revalations in Question Time.

The NT's Territory Families Minister has been questioned about the fact that a 10-year-old is in Don Dale Youth Detention Centre for the first time since the Youth Detention Royal Commission.

Independent Member for Mulka, Yingiya Guyula, asked why the NT Government was planning to "lock up more young people?", referencing its passing of legislation in May which makes it more difficult for youth offenders to get bail.

It comes as new data from Territory Families revealed that the average number of children in detention in the NT has jumped from 36.6 in November 2020 to 60.6 in November 2021.

With the vast majority of kids in detention being Indigenous, Mr Guyula asked what was being done to create "safer healthier alternatives to Don Dale on country?"

Territory Families Minister Kate Worden said the 10-year-old being in Don Dale wasn't a sign of a lack of progress.

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"I think everybody is not happy to have a young 10-year-old, well, I'll use the word child, in youth detention, but essentially, with this was the first young person [of that age] that we've had in youth detention since 2017," she said.

"And I think that's a testament to all of the work that has gone on, Madam Speaker, around keeping young people safe."

Mr Guyula also asked about media reports that revealed the plans for a new youth detention centre in the Darwin area had been amended to create capacity for 30 per cent more residents.

"What we're doing and working through at the moment is ensuring that we've got the right programs in place for young people," Ms Worden said.

"We understand that the current system, the current detention center, does not allow for the full suite of those programs to be invested in and rolled out as best we can. So what we're doing is building that new center which will enable a more modern therapeutic approach."

One of the key recommendations following the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, 2017, was that the current Don Dale facility was unfit for use and should be shut down.

This story Minister questioned after first 10-year-old locked up since royal commission first appeared on Katherine Times.