No answers on Acmena disturbance
By JULIA ILES
QUESTIONS remain after the January 29 disturbance at the Acmena Juvenile facility as the NSW Minister for Juvenile Justice refused to release the report to parliament yesterday.
Instead Minister Tony Kelly announced that specialised response teams would support staff should riot situations occur at any of the state's eight juvenile facilities.
The Daily Examiner made a freedom of information request asking for the details surrounding the Acmena disturbance.
It proved futile as the department decided that the information requested contained specific details, which would limit the effectiveness of law enforcement at the facility.
However it was found that Acmena staff had access to handcuffs, disposable flexi-cuffs, restraint belts, ankle cuffs, protective shields and helmets.
During the January disturbance five detainees vandalised the accommodation wing and caused thousands of dollars of damage to the facility.
Detention staff could not get permission to use the riot gear and relied upon Grafton police to arrest the offenders.
Mr Kelly said the response teams would be equipped with riot control gear but would need the authority of the Commissioner for Corrective Services to use chemical agents.
"Young thugs who think they can buck the system will think again when confronted by these specialist officers," he said.
NSW Shadow Minister for Juvenile Justice Catherine Cusack said the crackdown was a stunt to cover-up mismanage- ment.