The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory continued today in in Alice Springs, where 20 year old local, Jamal Turner, gave evidence and recounted one event during his time at the youth detention facility, Arrente House.
Mr Turner, currently in custody, described the Alice Springs detention centre, also called Arrente house, as a miserable place where guards are much angrier than at the notorious Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, where boys were tear gassed in 2014.
"[There's] not much space in there, it was quite small."
Commissioner Margaret White AO asked, "Did it have any natural light, could you see the sky?"
"Nah, there's was paint or something on all the windows so you couldn't see out, no sunlight, like...like a dungeon."
Mr Turner said a situation arose between him and a guard on one his early stays at the centre. He was thirteen or fourteen years old at the time.
He noticed a worker's pet dog on the premises, and tried to interact with it.
"I went to pat the dog, [but] because he was holding me at the time, he thought I was trying to escape custody.
"He grabbed me by the throat and choked me up against the wall. Yeah, I just remember being choked up against the wall, with two hands, he held me up against the wall," he said.
In a statement, Mr Turner added this particular guard was often heavy handed with youth.
“They used more force than they should’ve used really, like a knee in the back, putting handcuffs on them on the ground to restrain them. Just putting all their weight on the kids”.
The Royal Commission was launched late last year following an expose from the ABC’s Four Corners program, which showed young inmates being tear gassed, hooded and placed into restraint chairs.
The Commission will continue to hear from witnesses in Alice Springs until the end of the week.