Excessive lockdowns have been an ongoing area of concern at Banksia Hill for detainees, staff, Independent Visitors and this office, for some time. The last inspection of Banksia Hill carried out in May 2011 and reported on in January 2012, highlighted concerns regarding lockdowns and culminated in a recommendation for the Department to reduce the number of scheduled and unscheduled lockdowns of detainees. The Department responded by stating:
There is no alternative to the practice of lock downs within existing resources to ensure the safety and security of the centre. However the Department of Corrective Services ensures that all lockdowns are kept to a minimum.
Since that response was provided excessive lockdowns have not only continued at Banksia Hill but have increased. The Department failed to understand that the safety and security of the centre was compromised because of the lockdowns, instead stating the lockdowns provided safety and security.
Detainees expressed frustration to the Inquiry about the extent to which lockdowns were occurring at Banksia Hill in the time preceding the riot. Lockdowns were preventing a normal daily regime from occurring, therefore preventing detainees’ access to education, programs and recreation. Many young people stated their participation in the riot was because they ‘were locked down too much’. In the staff survey a third of staff also cited the lockdowns as a precipitating factor to the riot.