• Dylan and Kirra Voller have called for a radical overhaul of the youth justice system in the Northern Territory. (The Point/Else Kennedy)Source: The Point/Else Kennedy
Exclusive: In his first interview since an interim report found the Northern Territory's juvenile justice system is completely broken, Dylan Voller asks why some people were allowed to work with children and calls for accountability.
Robert Burton-Bradley

The Point
4 Apr 2017 - 12:51 PM  UPDATED 4 Apr 2017 - 2:16 PM

Dylan Voller has called for a criminal investigation into what happened at the Don Dale and other youth detention centres and questioned why there were not proper checks or training in place for staff working with young people at Government facilities.

"There should be a criminal investigation," he told The Point in his first interview since the Royal Commission into juvenile justice released its interim report last week.

“I think in the system accountability needs to be displayed for all people; young people and adults.”

"We’re young people and just because we’ve done something wrong – I really don’t think it’s fair, I feel let down by the system - these people got off."

The inquiry's report made no recommendations, but was highly critical of the punitive approach of the NT prison system.

It described the NT's facilities as "harsh and bleak" but said the government should wait for the final report's recommendations to be released later this year before rebuilding detention facilities. 

Mr Voller’s sister, Kirra Voller, said the Commission's report told them nothing new, and criticised the length of time it was taking to repair the juvenile justice system.

“The fact it’s taken four months for an interim report to discover that these facilities aren’t suitable for our kids is over my head – we knew this at the beginning because all these reports were already there before the royal commission," she told The Point. 

Mr Voller said being locked in a prison with hardened criminals had only worsened the outcomes for juvenile inmates.

“As a young person who has been in there… it makes your mind on being with criminal activity a lot worse being around people like that, older people with a lot worse crimes than you," he said. 

He also criticised the Justice system for targeting young offenders with harsh penalties and said the same penalties were not applied to staff.

"I think (some) people shouldn’t be working with young people and shouldn’t be working with government organisations unless they get the appropriate training," he said.

“We’ve seen in the commission’s hearings instances where people have done stuff to me, (and) other young people and it’s gone through the court system and they have been let off,” he said.

Dylan Voller to be released from prison
A Northern Territory Supreme Court Judge has released Dylan Voller from prison eight months early.

“I don’t see how it’s fair that if a young person walks up to someone and slaps them, or chokes them they get six months imprisonment but if someone that’s there supposed to be looking after us and we’re supposed to trust them they can do stuff to us, it can go through the courts but they get chucked out.

"We’re young people and just because we’ve done something wrong – I mean and I really don’t think it’s fair, I feel let down by the system - these people got off," Mr Voller said.

"For example, I’ve got a three month imprisonment sentence for peeling a bit of paint off the wall because I was left in a cell for three days and I was bored.” 

The Vollers said they believe a completely different system for dealing with juvenile offenders was needed.

"The interim report has said that facilities currently at Don Dale are not suitable, I do agree with that but I think the money, instead of being put into a new centre should be put into a community based program where they should start up a work camp and stuff like that and more training and skills for young people that really need to be incarcerated and maybe take them out bush to be breaking in horses, stuff like that instead of just putting them into a jail facility," said Mr Voller.

Ms Voller told The Point that a rehabilitative system should not use isolation and other harsh measures and the current system was clearly broken.

“There wouldn’t be anything that a normal child does not need, it would be like a boarding house; literally a place where kids who are disengaged, disconnected from family, from love, from life, from anything that a child would normally have in their home that is where they are going to get everything and be reconnected,” she said.

“What a child is meant to feel, what a child is meant to have; like schooling, love, family.”