important series exploring the stories of the Indigenous children trapped in Australia's jails, and how juvenile justice operates, as told by those who live and work in the system…
"On an average night in 2019, there were 949 children behind bars in Australia – more than half of them were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Of all 10-year-olds incarcerated, 80% were Aboriginal children"…
"Study after study has shown that contact with the criminal justice system at a young age can do lasting damage to children, their families and communities"
“Kids don’t have the internal ability to weigh out moral reasoning at that age. You lack the ability to regulate thoughts, behaviours and emotions... Imagine putting that kind of person in an environment with hundreds of other kids that are the same” @TracyWesterman
@TracyWesterman 'In Westerman’s home state of WA, a 2018 study found that almost every child in detention was “severely impaired” in at least one brain function, be it memory, language, attention or executive function – which limited their ability to plan and understand consequences'
'In his 14 years as president of the children’s court of Western Australia, Denis Reynolds says he regularly saw Aboriginal children aged 10 to 13 who were so small “they could hardly see over the dock” and who had “serious neuro-developmental impairment”'
“We’re saying they’re bad kids,” says the judge, who is now retired. “What we should be saying is these kids are crying out for support and we need to be providing it.”
'Aboriginal children are also disproportionately targeted by punitive policing. In New South Wales, for example, Indigenous kids are significantly overrepresented in the number of strip-searches conducted by police'
'At 13 Isaiah Sines was strip-searched by police on his way to the shops in the suburb. Isaiah says he was told to strip down to his underpants on the side of a busy road'
'All but one of the 32 kids now in juvenile detention in the NT are Aboriginal boys. There have been numerous times over the past decade when every single child in detention in the territory is Aboriginal'
“Locking up kids fails the children themselves and it also fails to protect our community,” said the ACT’s attorney general, Shane Rattenbury. “If we want to reduce future offending, expanded support and diversion is the way.”
“When do we lose our compassion for a child who is being abused or traumatised in their home? Well, effectively Australia says we lose that compassion at 10” - @TracyWesterman
'Hell scared': how a terrified homeless boy found himself locked up alone in the 'hole'…
When he got to the Banksia Hill detention centre "Louie told youth workers he was glad to be locked up so he could get a change of clothes and a rest. As a young Indigenous man, Louie has been in and out of Banksia Hill detention centre for most of his young adult life"
"When he was 14, living in care, his father died suddenly. He spent the following year between youth detention and homelessness until his mother was released from jail. He went to stay with her. But less than a year later she too died unexpectedly, & Louie was back on the street"
'His younger brother, who is 14, has also been in and out of Banksia Hill. At 19, Louie is now his carer, juggling the trauma of his own childhood in detention and the responsibilities of adulthood'
“We really are traumatising young people and we’re setting them up for a life of institutionalisation, which is a shocking abdication of our duty to Aboriginal youth.” - Hannah McGlade, human rights lawyer and Noongar woman
"The worst part about life in Banksia was Louie’s time in solitary confinement. After getting in trouble for fighting, he says he was placed in a small, windowless cell the size of a parking space for about 14 days"
'Looking back at his treatment in the justice system, Louie believes “harder consequences” didn’t work. He just needed a safe place to go. He also wishes someone had listened to him. Nobody asked about his parents or how he felt about losing them'
“They never ever actually said, ‘How do you feel about everything?’ Or, ‘What’s going through your head?’ They never ever did that once. I just wanted to say what I was thinking. Well, I never got the chance.”
Indigenous Australia and a childhood in custody: Louie’s first night in juvenile detention – video…
more from the Guardian's childhood in custody series

The WA cops rounding up Indigenous kids: a 'toxic and racist environment'…
"One of the worst moments of Jim Taylor’s eight-year career as a Western Australian police officer was the day he strip-searched a 10-year-old Aboriginal boy"
'he was driving around the city’s central business district with his senior sergeant & 2 other officers when they came across a group of four young Aboriginal kids.'

“They weren’t committing any offence or anything like that ... we were actually exceeding our power”
At the station Taylor says he was instructed to strip-search the youngest

“I’m supposed to make him sit down and cough and things like that,” he says. “I didn’t make him do that. I just made him take his clothes off and put [them] back on quickly … it made me uncomfortable.”
'The use of strip-searches for children is supposed to be reserved for extreme or exceptional circumstances, according to Taylor. But he says kids were strip-searched “pretty much all the time”, even when they hadn’t committed an offence'
'He left the WA police force in 2012, appalled by what he describes as a “toxic and racist environment” in which Aboriginal people, including children, were routinely targeted and harassed.'
'When he first joined in 2004, his view was very different. He had migrated from Turkey and was determined to contribute to his new country. But he was shocked to see officers approach Indigenous people on the street and provoke them with racist language to “arc them up”.'
“That’s the [WA] police’s bread and butter...targeting Indigenous people and making it look like they are doing a lot of work.”
“Don’t try and fix the community, fix the force and invest in the community,” she says. “We’re sick of being led by a white man in uniform. We never needed [that]" - Wiradjuri woman Jarin Baigent,

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More from @susanamet

18 Jan
Groups of regional Victorians are calling on the state govt not to allow the duck shooting season to proceed this year, amid continued concerns about vulnerable ecosystems and the impact on communities
#banduckshooting Image
Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting (RVOTDS) noted "dire environmental factors, significant long-term decline of all water bird indices, lack of critical data concerning protected species & lack of social/economic impact studies to the wider community"
Kerrie Allen from RVOTDS said that to allow any kind of shooting season this year would be "completely
reckless and cause irreversible damage to vulnerable ecosystems and rural communities. After the hell of a year we've had, regional Victorians - all Victorians - deserve better"
Read 4 tweets
16 Jan
As one of its last acts the Trump administration has set in motion the transfer of sacred Native American lands to a pair of Anglo-Australian mining conglomerates…
"Unbeknown to tribes and environmental groups who had long opposed mining Oak Flat, the land transfer was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in December 2014 as a last-minute rider to a Department of Defense spending bill"
when Rio Tinto blasted a sacred Aboriginal site in Juukan Gorge 'the widespread public outcry & investor revolt... led the Rio Tinto chairman, Simon Thompson, to promise that the company would “never again” destroy sites of “exceptional archaeological and cultural significance”'
Read 4 tweets
16 Jan
the more dangerous storms seem to have passed here but clouds still interesting ImageImage
Read 4 tweets
11 Apr 20
swimming echidna
more swimming echidna
Read 9 tweets
2 Mar 20
this cannot happen

Slaughter will kill mothers and their babies': Permit issued to cull 200 wombats…
"We are in tears about this as you can imagine,” a Wombat Awareness Organisation spokesperson wrote on Facebook.

“This shouldn't be legal, but it is. We have to do something about this"

“It is baby season so this slaughter will kill mothers and their babies.”
"Across Australia, there are thought to be only 60,000 to 130,000 southern hairy-nosed wombats in the wild with ongoing threats including mange, habitat destruction, drought and culling"
Read 15 tweets
8 Jan 20
we all know WIRES in NSW is great and celebs around the world are asking people to donate to them. Please reply to this tweet with other animal/wildlife orgs around the country needing donations - there are many
Wildlife Victoria
Donate here:
Read 26 tweets

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