Between January 2017 and August 2017 the Office of the Queensland Ombudsman (the Office) received information to suggest that there had been significant problems and disruption at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre (BYDC) in the period following the transfer of the CYDC young people and the BYDC riot.
In particular, it was evident that the arrival of the CYDC young people at BYDC had a significant impact on the safety, security and normal functioning of the centre. Issues regarding the management of the CYDC young people, and how some BYDC staff interacted with them, were identified as factors that ultimately contributed to the BYDC riot.
By way of complaints received from young people, interviews conducted with young people, information provided by BYDC staff and the Youth Detention Inspectorate and referrals from the CCC, the Office identified a number of significant decisions and incidents at BYDC between November 2016 and the BYDC riot on 30 January 2017. These formed the basis for the investigation, and included:
- the development of risk management strategies for the CYDC young people following their transfer to BYDC
- a rooftop incident in November 2016
- allegations of threats and assaults on young people orchestrated by BYDC staff
- perceived preferential treatment of CYDC young people by staff
- concerns about safety and security at BYDC in the lead up to the BYDC riot.
The investigation also examined the aftermath of the BYDC riot, specifically the decision to separate the young people who were involved for a period of up to 10 days. A lack of available rooms following the BYDC riot meant that some of these young people were accommodated in rooms that were intended to be temporary holding areas for young people newly admitted to the centre. These ‘admission rooms’ did not have beds, running water or bathroom facilities. Some young people spent the entire length of their 10 day separation period detained in these rooms.