Teenagers don't belong in an adult jail, even when things get hard. Placing them with adult prisoners is exposing them to dangerous influences and the risk of abuse.
Eighty per cent of those in Parkville Juvenile Justice Centre are on remand, that is, they haven't been convicted and sentenced. Some will be found not guilty of any offence.
The Victorian Charter of Human Rights mandates: "An accused child who is detained or a child detained without charge must be segregated from all detained adults."
Is the Government planning to keep them in isolation while in adult custody? We know the mental harm that such imprisonment causes. Will they be able to participate in rehabilitation and education programs and any recreation? Are their basic prisoner rights under the Corrections Act going to be protected? Or is the Government content to keep them out of sight, out of mind, and abandon their prospects of rehabilitation?
The Victorian Charter also says: "An accused child must be brought to trial as quickly as possible".
How long have some of these youngsters been in custody? What are the conditions like? Is Parkville overcrowded like the adult prisons? Has anyone asked them what the issue with Parkville is?
The Victoria Charter provides: "A child who has been convicted of an offence must be treated in a way that is appropriate for his or her age”'.
These rights have a strong grounding in international law, which recognises that placing young people in adult custody is bad for the child and bad for the community.
We don't abandon human rights just because things get difficult. If Parkville is inadequate then there must be an immediate investment in a youth justice facility that meets human rights standards.