The National Network of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls (National Network) reissue their call for the immediate closure of Don Dale Youth Prison and the immediate safe release of children from the facility, amid the latest protest by children in the prison this week.

The conditions inside Don Dale are horrific. The situation is critical, and Don Dale is dangerous. ‘Children are speaking up in the only way they know how. They are putting their bodies, lives, and liberty on the line to speak out about the abuse they are suffering inside. We have a duty of care, and as adults it’s our job to protect our children. They belong in our community, not in cages,’ said National Network founding member, Tabitha Lean.

Lawyer, John Lawrence who was among a group of Close Don Dale Now campaign members reported the children stated they are being mistreated, that they were being subjected to rolling lock downs – a practice our members know intimately as oppressive, isolating, and terrible for one’s mental health and general wellbeing. ‘Children’s outward behaviour is their way of expressing themselves. It is a way of speaking to us. The children on the roof of the disgusting Don Dale children’s prison, which was supposed to bull dozed down years ago are crying out for our help. Will we listen to them or just attack them and drag them back to their cages?’ asked founding member, Debbie Kilroy.

Don Dale is not a purpose-built juvenile facility. It is the former Berrimah adult prison which was built in the 1970s and never intended for children. It was condemned in 2014 and deemed “only fit for a bulldozer” by the CEO of Correctional Services. Yet, it continues to cage children. The National Network stand in solidarity with the Close Don Dale Now campaign and demand that Don Dale is closed and that no other juvenile prison be built in its place. Rather we want to see an investment in children and families in the Northern

Our solidarity and hearts are with the children and parents of Don Dale. We will keep fighting for the abolition of children’s cages.

We are fighting for liberation – four our children and their future.

For comment, please contact Debbie Kilroy on 0419 762 474 or Tabitha Lean on 0499 780

About the National Network of Incarcerated & Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls The National Network of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls (National Network) represents women, girls, feminine identifying and non-binary people who are
currently in prison, who have been to prison, those who are currently living within the confines of the criminal injustice system and those who have exited the system.  Our membership is drawn from all-over so-called Australia.

Our Network in Australia was founded in 2020 by Debbie Kilroy of Sisters Inside and remains an abolitionist organisation committed to ending the incarceration of women and girls. Collectively we argue that prison will never be a safe place for women or girls, and in fact they are spaces and places that deepen poverty, increase trauma and cause further social and economic harm. Prisons, in our opinion, do not result in an increase in public or community safety.