The Department has developed a complicated array of rules and administrative procedures in order to implement the statutory framework. These include (in rank order): Youth Custodial Services Rules (formerly the Juvenile Custodial Services Rules) Standing Orders, Operational Procedures, Youth Custodial Services Instructions and Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent’s Notices. These derive their authority from the Youth Offenders Act (YOA) and must be compliant with it.
Youth Custodial Rules
At the time of the commencement of this Inquiry the Juvenile Custodial Rules (JCRs) which applied to the management, control and security of young people in detention were dated 17 July 2008 and, it appeared, had not been reviewed since that time. During the course of the Inquiry however, the JCRs were replaced with newly named Youth Custodial Rules (YCRs). The YCRs are shown as being signed by the relevant parties on 27 August 2012 and expressed as being ‘effective from 27 August 2012’. However, the YCRs were not published on the Department’s Intranet and readily available to staff and detainees until 5 March 2013.
The Department explained that the rules being used by Youth Custodial Services staff between 27 August 2012 and 20 January 2013 were the JCRs dated July 2008. According to the Department, although the new YCRs had been signed in August 2012, they needed to be formatted into online templates before being published online and staff being informed. It is evident however, that the JCRs continued to apply beyond 20 January 2013 as the replacement YCRs were not published by the Department until 5 March 2013.
There are 42 current YCRs, extending over multiple pages and some of them are supplemented by appendices. Each rule is signed by the CEO and the Minister and is effective from the date of signature. The YCRs (like the former JCRs) are divided into the following subject categories:
- 100 – Officers
- 200 – Management, control and security of detention centres
- 300 – Assessment, security classification and supervision level of detainees
- 400 – Custody, removal and release of detainees
- 500 – Detention centre visits
- 600 – Communication involving detainees
- 700 – Health care and wellbeing of detainees
- 800 – Authorised absences
- 900 – Non Australian detainees
Section 181(3) of the YOA provides that the CEO must publish the rules ‘in such manner as is appropriate to bring relevant rules to the attention of persons affected by them’. According to YCR 101 copies of the rules are issued to the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent and Shift Manager at Banskia Hill as well as to the Gate House. Copies (except for those restricted to staff only) are also issued to the Banksia Hill Library for use by detainees. Electronic copies of the rules are also available for departmental staff on the Department’s Intranet (CSinet) and electronic copies (except for those restricted to staff only) are accessible on the Department’s public website.
The 21 Standing Orders (SOs) also extend over multiple pages and are for distribution to staff only. The SOs currently in use are dated 30 June 2009 and are headed so as to apply to ‘Banksia Hill Detention and Rangeview Remand’. They are signed by the then Director, Juvenile Custodial Services and the Superintendents of Banksia Hill and the former Rangeview Remand Centre.
According to the Department, the SOs ‘are in part derived from and refer to the Juvenile Custodial Rules and generally outline more specific processes that need to be undertaken in each centre for the management, control and security of youth in custody’.
The SOs include such matters as the centre timetable, unit management, hierarchy of accommodation, detainee behaviour management, visits, escorts, searches and the use of force and restraints on detainees.
There are currently 35 Operational Procedures (OPs) issued under the approval of the Superintendent which are for distribution to staff only and give further guidance in relation to matters covered by the SOs.
Examples include procedures relating to the gatehouse, lockup and unlock, escorts from the centre, admission and discharge, visits, meals, laundry, personal property, used of trained dogs to search and video recording of incidents.
Notices and Instructions
From time to time the Director of Youth Custodial Services or the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent also issue notices or instructions to staff, which, it appears, are designed to introduce a new or alter an existing practice, policy or procedure.
Some examples of these notices and instructions are an instruction dealing with changes to the approved list of restraints, an instruction dealing with lost property belonging to detainees, a notice as to procedures for the allocation of overtime to staff and a notice as to requests for psychological assessment and counselling.