A group of lawyers are participating in an event designed (we assume) to bring awareness to the plight of juveniles in custody.
They are going to gaol overnight on Friday, 11 May 2012 in a Sydney juvenile detention centre. Let’s hope they do better than what has happened in the past in adult cells.
In an article in InBrief, we are told that barristers “are working with Whitelion, an organisation working with Juvenile Justice to secure opportunities for young people involved in the youth justice system or at risk of involvement. Whitelion secure employment and provide support and guidance to assist in helping the kids to not reoffend and get their lives back on track.”
The event will involve the barristers having to raise $3,000.00 to secure their release on bail. “They will be stripped of possessions, fingerprinted, photographed and subjected to interrogation. They will also appear before a magistrate in a mock court proceeding before being sentenced to cell time. Attorney General Greg Smith will be pardoning their release the next day.”
Check out their inmate profile page. Apparently all funds go to Whitelion (a non-for-profit charity).
A worthy event? Of course, children, like adults, aren’t “interrogated”, they are interviewed. You can raise as much money as you like, doesn’t mean you’ll get bail. That is often to do with whether or not as a juvenile you have somewhere to live, somewhere safe to go. Many practitioners have seen the awful plight of a child being kept in custody because there is nowhere else for them to go. As to why Police would be photographing children, its beyond me.
But all is well – as the website for Whitelion notes, if you participate the good news is that (like all juveniles who are release from detention) you too can partake of “a well-deserved champagne breakfast.” Or if the promise of champagne is not enough for you, you can always opt out by fleeing gaol at 11 PM to avoid the sleepover.
I appreciate the sentiment but for me at least, there is something very awkward about seeing the words “Children” “Juvenile” “In Custody” “Champaign” and “Mock Court” all in the same article. Surely this sort of thing isn’t to be made light of? Gaol is never sleepover.
Does all this talk of champagne puts you in the mind of the apocryphal Marie Antoinette?