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Urgent call to remove juveniles from adult prisons

17 y.o. boys and girls do not belong in adult prisons, according to the Brosnan Centre which today challenged the Bracks' Government to fulfil its election promise of raising the jurisdiction of adult courts to 18.

Executive Director of the Brosnan Centre, and long term member of the Youth Parole Board, Bernie Geary, says he's seen too many kids "stood over" and "taken advantage of" in Victorian Prisons.

"Every 17 year old denied bail and placed on remand goes to an adult prison in Victoria" Bernie Geary explained, "and many are refused bail because they are homeless or without family support, rather than because they are charged with a serious offence".

Former Pentridge Prison Chaplain, Father Peter Norden, believes that the Victorian Government could be held liable if it does not conform with the practice in other States of Australia.

"Children under eighteen should be protected by the Children's Court", he said. "Over 16 years at Pentridge, I saw too many young offenders taken under the wing of older more sophisticated criminals and I challenge the Government to tell me that the same is not happening with seventeen year olds in our prisons today".

JSS/Brosnan Centre

25 Jun 2003