The Ashley Youth Detention Center is set for closure, so here’s how the government will replace it

Tasmania’s Commission of Inquiry has heard shocking and horrific evidence about a culture of violence and sexual abuse at the state’s only youth detention facility, with one expert saying he would “raze Ashley to the ground” if he could.

Counsel assisting the commission Rachel Ellyard warned the evidence presented about the Ashley Youth Detention Center would be “confronting and distressing” — and the first accounts of experts, staff members and former detainees proved to be just that.

Former detainee Warren* told the commission he was forced to perform sexual acts on guards to receive his medication, while another former detainee, Simon*, said the physical abuse and isolation he experienced at the facility had him begging to be sent to an adult jail instead.

As confronting as these accounts were, Ms Ellyard said multiple governments had heard similar accounts, having received report after report full of complaints about the facility before a decision was made to close it last year.

So, what’s next for this scandal-plagued facility, and what will replace it?

What exactly is Ashley?

The Ashley Youth Detention Center opened as the Ashley Home for Boys in 1922, with the idea to reform young offenders by putting them to work on the farm.

Ms Ellyard told the commission that the culture of abuse began back then, with multiple former details alleging they were subject to physical and sexual abuse.

“It’s clear … that practices in the former Ashley Boys Home were punitive and vile, violent,” she said.

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