Sex offenders segregation plan after juvie riot

AN independent review will look at segregating young sex predators from other youth offenders after a major riot at a Central Coast juvenile detention centre.

One inmate was left fighting for his life and six others were badly injured when 21 detainees rampaged through Kariong's Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre, targeting known sex offenders, at 8.30pm Sunday night.

It was 5.30pm on Monday before police were able to detain all of the young males, charging each of them with rioting, which carries a sentence of up to 15 years in jail if proven.

Young offenders on top of the roof of Kariong’s Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre. Picture: John Grainger
Young offenders on top of the roof of Kariong’s Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre. Picture: John Grainger

 

It’s believed seven long knives were taken by the youths among other garden tools. Picture: Supplied
It’s believed seven long knives were taken by the youths among other garden tools. Picture: Supplied

 

They were arrested when they surrendered. Picture John Grainger
They were arrested when they surrendered. Picture John Grainger


The riot began when ­inmates surrounded a guard and stole their keys before heading straight to a maintenance shed and the kitchen, arming themselves with knives and garden tools they had grabbed on their way through.

The Daily Telegraph und­erstands that of the seven long knives taken during the turmoil two were still unaccounted for on Tuesday.

Former NSW Police assis­tant commissioner Lee Shearer has been appointed to head a review that will consider segregating sex ­offenders and establishing a new high-risk area at Frank Baxter.

An independent review will now look at segregating young sex predators from other youths inside the detention centre. Picture: Tim Hunter
An independent review will now look at segregating young sex predators from other youths inside the detention centre. Picture: Tim Hunter

The four adult inmates charged over the riot - aged 18 and 19 - were due to be transferred to adult jails to serve out their sentence.

Families and Communities Minister Gareth Ward said his new policy was to ­remove offenders who turn 18 while in detention to adult prisons if they transgress or pose "a serious risk to the safety and wellbeing of staff or other detainees".

Lawyers and court staff scrambled to cope with the cases of the 21 new alleged ­offenders on Tuesday, most of whom remained inside­ the Mt Penang detention centre.

Families and Communities Minister Gareth Ward said new policy would see the removal of offenders who turn 18 while in detention centre to adult prisons if they pose a risk.
Families and Communities Minister Gareth Ward said new policy would see the removal of offenders who turn 18 while in detention centre to adult prisons if they pose a risk.

Legal Aid solicitor Trish Brennan told Woy Woy Children's Court "the centre is in disarray" as she sought to contact the young males before their charges were mentioned in court.

Former Frank Baxter youth officer Gino Di Candilo spoke of the fear ­experienced by staff members caught up in the riot.

He said that the Public Service Asso­ciation had been ­saying for three years that "something like this was going to happen".

"I was speaking to a female staff member and she said it was the first time she'd ever been scared - they just went into a ­frenzy," Mr Di Candilo said.

"When you're being chased by a mob of up to 30 ­detainees at night, you're not going to hang around - they've got weapons, so you get out of there."