Member for Kimberley Josie Farrer today called on the Barnett Government to assist with management of juvenile justice issues in the Kimberley.
In a Parliamentary Grievance to the Minister for Corrective Services Joe Francis, Ms Farrer called for the Broome prison, scheduled for closure at the end of the year, to be utilised as a juvenile justice centre to keep children who have encountered the justice system in the Kimberley.
"The Kimberley community wants juvenile justice issues managed in the Kimberley. We don't want Kimberley kids sent to detention centres in Perth," Ms Farrer.
"The kids being sent to Banksia detention centre return home more dysfunctional then when they left. They lose connection to family, country, culture, and their identity.
Many of these children have suffered early life trauma and are emotionally damaged. Some have FASD, disabilities or learning disorders that are going undiagnosed for years.
These children's first encounter with the justice system should include assessments and the appropriate support and therapies provided to deal with these problems.
It's essential that the Liberal-National Government commit to recurrent funding of existing diversionary programs in the Kimberley such as the Yiriman program.
There also needs to be better investment made to mental health facilities specifically for young people in the Kimberley.
"It's time for a new approach to youth justice to break negative cycles and improve the lives of young people in the Kimberley," Ms Farrer said.
"Mr Francis recently stated that he was committed to improving youth justice services in the Kimberley. It's time for the Minister to stand up and take an active interest in this issue to give Kimberley children the best chance in life."