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Written by on 04/04/2024

April 4: Police have confirmed six teens remained on the roof of Don Dale more than 12 hours after a fire at the infamous Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.

Acting Police Commissioner Martin Dole on Thursday morning told media he expected cops would lay charges – including assault police and criminal damage charges – in relation to the group “rioting” at the facility on Wednesday night.

Commissioner Dole said the Territory Response Group had also attended the scene.

“14 youth climbed onto the roof of that facility and were throwing projectiles at the attending members,” he said.

“Eight of those youth have since surrendered to police and have been taken back into custody.

“As of my briefing at 7am this morning, six remained on the roof of that facility.”

Commissioner Dole said one police officer’s leg was fractured during the incident when a “projectile” was thrown at him.

He confirmed a fire started at the centre but said the blaze was extinguished quickly.

Chief Minister Eva Lawler said the incident began in Don Dale’s education facility before the young people accessed other areas of the detention centre.

Chief Minister Eva Lawler. Picture: Pema Tamang Pakhrin

Chief Minister Eva Lawler. Picture: Pema Tamang Pakhrin

Ms Lawler said Don Dale had been fully staffed at the time of the incident.

She said the new youth detention centre would likely be open in late June.

“It is a complex building, that youth detention facility,” Ms Lawler said.

“But it will be an outstanding facility when it’s completed, an absolute state of the art facility and truly, it can’t be open soon enough from my point of view.”

Opposition Leader Lia Finnochiaro criticised Labor’s “failure” to deliver a new youth detention facility in eight years.

“Labor has … failed to deliver consequences and failed to protect our community,” she said.

“The complete lack of consequences and programs in detention mean youth don’t change their behaviour.”

Opposition Territory Families and Youth Spokesman Josh Burgoyne. Picture: Pema Tamang Pakhrin

Territory Families Minister Ngaree Ah Kit.

Opposition Territory Families and Youth Spokesman Joshua Burgoyne said the lack of adequate rehabilitation programs in the NT meant young people “don’t change their behaviour”.

“What’s needed are secure, long-term rehabilitation options tailored for young individuals who may only respond to specialised services,” he said.

Territory Families Minister Ngaree Ah Kit on Thursday morning told ABC Radio Darwin that Don Dale would continue normal operations and inmates would be “supervised appropriately”.

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