Ashley staffing `mess'

A REVIEW has started into staffing of the Ashley Youth Detention Centre near Deloraine, after revelations that there are 90 full-time equivalent staff but only 11 juveniles.

Children and Youth Services manages the 24-hour centre as part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Ashley has a 51-bed capacity.

Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma said yesterday that she had asked the department to review Ashley, the new government having inherited ``a mess'' from the previous government.

She said the review was to ensure that Tasmania had the ``most efficient and effective'' youth justice system as possible.

``When we were in opposition we were aware of the average yearly rate; we were not aware of what the daily rate was,'' Ms Petrusma said of the staff-to-detainee ratio.

``Concerns have been raised with us, so I have asked the department to look at this situation.

``The review has already started and we will make further announcements at the end of the review.

``We want to see dollars put into community youth justice programs, but Ashley will always be a part of that whole continuum.''

The new government has promised to spend $5.3 million on youth justice prevention initiatives.

In August last year, the then acting children's commissioner Elizabeth Daly called for an overhaul of youth justice to keep more young people out of detention, but did not recommend the closure of Ashley, in the Alternatives to Secure Youth Detention report.

Email: ctang@examiner.com.au

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