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Vic govt under fire over latest youth riot

Victorian children's minister Jenny Mikakos (centre) discuses the Parkville youth justice centre riots in November 2016. AAP Image/Angus Livingston

Victorian children’s minister Jenny Mikakos (centre) discuses the Parkville youth justice centre riots in November 2016. AAP Image/Angus Livingston

Melbourne [AAP]

The state government is under fire after a riot that began in a swimming pool at one of Victoria’s youth justice centres.

A group of up to 20 inmates broke out of the southern secure unit of the Parkville youth justice facility centre and were trying to force their way into another unit about 8pm on Saturday night.

Staff were evacuated and more than 35 police were brought in, including the public order response team and the dog squad, to bring a riot under control at the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre in Parkville.

Seven prisoners were removed from the facility and moved to the Grevillea Unit at Barwon Prison and the Malmsbury Youth Detention Centre.

Youth affairs minister Jenny Mikakos said the government had been working ‘around the clock’ for months to improve the prison and make it fit for purpose after a similar riot in November.

The minister on Sunday said it was too early to make an assessment of the damage but it mostly related to broken glass and very superficial wreckage.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy said the minister was out of her depth, and called for her to be sacked.

His colleague and opposition youth affairs spokeswoman Georgie Crozier said the altercation started in the facility’s pool.

‘There were 20 young offenders in the swimming pool and an altercation started there and then got into the roof,’ she said on Sunday.

The latest disturbance follows a series of incidents at Victorian youth justice facilities, including a riot at Parkville in mid-November in which about 30 inmates trashed their cells, and another disturbance at the Malmsbury detention centre.

Some of the youths involved in those disturbances were transferred to the state’s highest security adult prison, Barwon.


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