The National Network of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls stands in condemnation and rage as the Queensland Government suspends the Human Rights Act to use police watch houses as youth cages.
While the government alleges this latest move is part of their tough on crime stance, we view this egregious action as not only undermining the fundamental principles of human rights and justice, but also an action that jeopardises the wellbeing and futures of the very youth the government is entrusted to protect. This is a gross abrogation of the government’s duty of care.
The Queensland Government’s decision to suspend the Human Rights Act to push through such legislation is a blatant disregard for the rights and dignity of young people. The Human Rights Act, designed to safeguard the rights of all individuals, is a cornerstone of modern democratic societies. By sidestepping these principles, the government sends a deeply concerning message that it is willing to compromise the very values that should form the foundation of any just and humane society.
Furthermore, the use of police watch houses as youth detention facilities is a regressive step and reminds us all that this government will not hesitate to abuse the lives of young people in the name of political point scoring. The inherent risk of subjecting young people to an environment not suited for their development, wellbeing, health and safety should be raising alarm bells among human rights organizations, child advocates, and concerned citizens. The National Network awaits the collective rage from our fellow citizens and stands in solidarity with Sisters Inside who gathered today on the steps of Parliament House.
The Queensland Government must be held accountable for its actions, and immediate steps must be taken to reinstate the human rights of our young people and this latest move must be reversed. The rights of every individual, incarcerated or otherwise, must be respected and upheld.
We implore the Queensland Government to reconsider its decision, to prioritize the wellbeing of our young people, and to reverse this decision without delay. Anything short of a complete reversal will stand as a stark reminder that the fight for justice and human rights is a constant, unwavering struggle, and we stand as abolitionists staunch in our fight for the abolition of the carceral state.
The National Network of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls 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 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 places that entrench 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.
COLLECTIVE STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL NETWORK BY
VICKIE ROACH TABITHA LEAN DEBBIE KILROY JASMINE BARZANI
National Network of Incarcerated & Formerly Incarcerated Women & Girls
How can you help?
The Sisters Inside Fund for Children supports children of women in the criminal justice system to choose their own future free of the burdens so commonly felt while their mother is in prison.
#Free Her Campaign
This campaign has been set up by Debbie Kilroy, CEO of Sisters Inside Inc. The funds raised will be used to release people from prison and pay warrants so they are not imprisoned.