Modernization of South Africa’s youth detention center on track
This follows a state government decision in 2019 to close the Jonal Drive campus of the Kurlana Tapa Youth Training Center and move all detained children aged 10 and over to the centre’s Goldsborough Road campus in Cavan, in northern Adelaide.
The state government has committed $ 18.7 million in this year’s state budget to modernize the Goldsborough Road site to increase capacity and improve the safety of young detainees at the site.
Ann-Marie Hayes, executive director of community and family services at the Department of Social Services, said Daily this week that the upgrade was “on track”, with construction scheduled to begin in early 2022.
She said the ministry appointed local architectural firm Totalspace Design last month to design the planned new facilities, which include a 12-bed accommodation unit and an eight-bed custody unit, as well as a new classroom space and visiting areas.
Youth detained on the Goldsborough Road campus are expected to remain at the site during construction. The Jonal Drive site will also remain open if necessary.
Penny Wright, a visitor to the Youth Training Center, which is to advocate for the rights of young people in detention, said she welcomed the “modest” investment from the government, saying the upgrade “would meet some of some concerns. urgent needs “.
“There was definitely a need to increase the capacity of the center to meet the challenges caused by the merger of the two campuses in 2019, which resulted in more individuals at one site and the colocation of young men and women with the older. males, ”she said.
“Extra beds were essential to meet the needs of different cohorts and to manage groups of young people who cannot be housed together.
“The new custody unit will provide an improved option to accommodate and meet the needs of young people who have not yet appeared in court and who may not have been to the center before. “
In several reports to the state parliament, Wright stressed the need to provide more leisure, health, education and cultural spaces at the center.
She also called for better separation of older and younger residents and for a “gradual settlement” for long-term residents before they return to the community.
Wright said his office had been asked to provide comments on the proposed upgrade.
“I am excited about the insights they bring, which are based on the available evidence on what promotes health, well-being and ‘growth’ in human beings – such as fresh air, connection to nature, color, sound and light, “she said.
“I will be watching with great interest to see what is achievable within the construction budget and hope that this will set a standard for further improvements to the center in the future.”
Hayes said Wright and his staff had been consulted at “all stages” and would continue to be involved in the design process.
Once the upgrade is complete and the Jonal Drive campus closed, the total number of beds available for South Australian youth in custody will increase from 96 to 80.
Figures provided to Daily by the Department show that the number of youth detained on average per day has decreased by 37% since 2015-16.
The latest data, from 2019-2020, shows that the average number of children in detention per day was 36.
The Department says the resident / bed ratio allows for safe and appropriate management of the different cohorts of young people in detention.
When completed, the Kurlana Tapa upgrade will save the government $ 651,000 in 2022-2023, rising to $ 1.3 million in 2023-24 by joining the two campuses.
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