A BUILDING at the controversial Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin caught fire during a riot late last night that police struggled to contain.
Heavily armed police were called to the facility and were joined there by fire engines and ambulances when flames and thick smoke could be seen coming from inside the complex, which is 15km from the Darwin city centre.
Loud yelling could be heard coming from the centre, while the ABC reported multiple detainees – holding ipads – were seen on the roof.
Others could be seen walking outside the buildings and throwing objects at officers. Police on loudspeakers urged the detainees to put down their weapons or face serious consequences.
Screams could be heard from 100m away.
A Territory Families department spokeswoman said the “disturbance” at the centre started at 6.45pm.
“The police have been called and are currently assisting to resolve the situation,” the department said in a statement.
Don Dale facility came under scrutiny during the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
NT police were last month called to investigate after reports a group of detainees had caused damage and stolen keys.
— Rosanna Kingsun (@rosannakingsun) November 6, 2018
There was further controversy last week when the NT Government denied claims young girls at Don Dale were under surveillance while they showered. And recently a young offender who stabbed a man in the neck was released on bail recently after a judge heard the male youth had been held for 52 days and under lockdown for 15 hours at a time amid understaffing and no community programs.
.@mattcunningham: Police in riot gear have entered the Don Dale detention centre. There is a huge police presence. We’ve heard loud yelling coming out of the centre and police will only say they are responding to an incident.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) November 6, 2018
The centre received national attention in 2016 when the ABC aired a report showing camera footage of the abuse of youths, including teen Dylan Voller in a restraint chair wearing a spit hood, prompting a royal commission into juvenile detention in the NT.
The NT government has committed $70 million for two new detention centres in Darwin and Alice Springs as part of $229.6 million over the next five years to overhaul the child protection and youth justice systems and implement the recommendations of the royal commission.
– with AAP
More to come.
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