• Dylan Voller talks to NITV News' Danny-Teece Johnson. (Claudianna Blanco/NITV News)
EXCLUSIVE: Dylan Voller has expressed relief at the release of the juvenile justice royal commission's final report, but warns there is a long way to go in reforming the prison system.
By
Danny Teece-Johnson, Robert Burton-Bradley

17 Nov 2017 - 3:12 PM  UPDATED 17 Nov 2017 - 3:20 PM

Dylan Voller has welcomed the recommendations of the the juvenile justice royal commission, but expressed concern that governments may not act on them.

Mr Voller became the poster boy for the Northern Territory Royal Commission into youth detention after the ABC's Four Corners aired the program "Australia's Shame" in July 2016, which revealed the mistreatment of youth inside Darwin's Don Dale Detention Centre.

"(I'm) feeling pretty positive after looking at some of the recommendations, but at the same time I'm a bit confused whether the Governments going to implement them or not," he told NITV News.

Mr Voller said he had mixed feelings seeing the now infamous footage and images of himself being tear gassed and placed in a spit hood.

"I get pretty emotional but at the same time I think about in a way if it didn't happen to me or those pictures didn't get out then a royal commission wouldn't have happened," he said.

"I hate seeing it, but sometimes it's a good reminder of just how far the Northern Territory has come now."

He said he felt that since being released from the Don Dale Detention Centre his life had been transformed.

Dylan Voller: Life outside after a decade behind bars
EXCLUSIVE: In the last year, Dylan Voller’s name has been splashed over newspapers both nationally and internationally; the image of him strapped to a restraint chair and hooded has been etched onto screens worldwide.

"My journeys been good, I've ended up maintaining two jobs, I've got my own apartment, I've moved out of Alice Springs and started a fresh life somewhere else and I guess its a big laugh in the face, I mean you had prison officers in the prison system actually full on taking bets that I'd be back before Christmas."

He said he still feared for friends he had still inside the prison system and possibly facing mistreatment.

"It does hurt knowing I've got friends and family still inside the prison system... and we've seen a lot of cases where its happening in a lot of other states.

"I think to be honest these recommendations should be not only for the Northern Territory, but for all states across Australia," he said.

"I believe it's still happening and will be for a long time."

Mr Voller's childhood was largely filled with solitary confinement, violence, and spit hoods. Overseas, media described his treatment inside youth detention as “like something out of Guantanamo Bay”.

“There was times where I thought that that was the only place for me, was to be stuck in detention, and stuff like that, because I'd become so used to it, it was just a normal thing to just be staying in detention, even staying in my room 24/7 it just became normal,” he told NITV earlier this year.

In 2014, Mr Voller was sentenced to three years and eight months for aggravated robbery, he says he punched a man and stole his wallet.

“I have accepted and admitted that I have done the wrong thing, I have made silly threats, I have abused prison staff, I’ve spat, I’ve kicked doors, I’ve done stuff like that, and yeah I do admit it, I have admitted to it and I know it was wrong,” he said.

“But nothing like that justifies adult officers grabbing us kids by the necks, locking us in cells for long periods of time, and none of it justifies the behaviour that goes on in Don Dale from the staff, so I think it's just time that they all accept responsibility, because I think that’s the only way to, I guess, forgive the system and move on, is accepting what you’ve done is wrong.”

Close Don Dale

The juvenile justice royal commission has told the Northern Territory government to shut down Darwin's notorious Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.

The findings of the $54 million inquiry, which was sparked when footage of boys being tear gassed, wearing spithoods and being shackled was aired on television last year, were released on Friday.

Commissioners Margaret White and Mick Gooda said their recommendations would save nearly $336 million over the next decade, if implemented.

The report also called for a new Children’s Court, implementation of an early intervention family support program and a Commission for Children and Young People under a comprehensive reform program the report said was aimed at restoring the "failed detention and child protection systems in the Northern Territory".

There was also a call to increase the age of criminal responsibility for minors to 12-years-old.

The report authors described: "shocking and systemic failures occurred over many years and were known and ignored at the highest levels".

"Children and young people were subjected to regular, repeated and distressing mistreatment in detention and there was a failure to follow the procedures and requirements of the law in many instances."

Close Don Dale: NT juvenile justice inquiry final report delivered
The juvenile justice royal commission's final report will hand federal and NT governments a blueprint to close a dark chapter inside Australia's youth prisons.