Concentrating on incarceration in Darwin

They go with their families to the Mindil Beach Markets
grab some food, watch some Aboriginal dancers
and then wander over the sand hills to the beach
to see the sun setting over Fannie Bay.
It is almost as if they are just like other Territorians.

The next day they put on their uniforms
and drive to Don Dale juvenile prison
where they strap children in restraint chairs
and put hoods over their heads for hours on end.

Other young people they place in solitary,
yes solitary confinement for weeks at a time
with no running water in their cells.
Sometimes they smash young children to the ground
or strip them naked or both.

They have even been known to
spray tear gas into their cells,
when the children have no chance of escape.
The Chief Minister sometimes says he didn’t know
but at other times says he was told
and that he had seen most of the footage.
97 per cent of juvenile prisoners in the NT
are of Aboriginal descent.

There are others who do similar jobs
those who run the adult prison
where 84 per cent of inmates identify as Indigenous.
The Prison is 70 kilometres down the track,
no public transport runs to the prison.
This makes it near impossible
for families from the bush
to visit their relatives locked up there.

There are still others who work at Wickham Point.
It is an asylum seekers prison outside of Darwin
where people who have arrived by boat
are warehoused until the Minister for Immigration
can find a reason to send them
to concentration camps on Manus or Nauru.
Sometimes he has to be content with
returning them from where they fled.

Both Labor and Liberal Territory governments
have supervised such regimes.
Both Labor and Liberal Federal governments
have funded such regimes.
Lawyers, advocates, and reporters have spoken out
but they were ignored until
the Four Corners program showed the TV footage.

Have we become so morally bankrupt
that stories of atrocities against minors,
violence against the first nation people,
the poorest people in this invaded land,
and gross mistreatment of asylum seekers,
fleeing persecution and war,
can be brushed aside with such nonchalance?

Many of the people who do the bashing
are poor whites with few other opportunities
who do the bidding of “their betters” unquestioningly.
They can’t afford to lose their job,
they have families to house and feed.

But the people they scar and maim,
those they terrorise, have families too.
Many of those who oversight
such a callous disregard of vulnerable people
are supposed to be addressed as the Honourable.
What a farce.
There is nothing honourable
in what they do.
There is nothing honourable
in their dereliction of duty.

Written 1/8/2016.