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Wednesday, 16 September 1936

Detentionquarters atgarden island

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - On the 11th September, Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defencethe following questions, upon notice : - 1.Has the attention of the Government been drawn to a statement in Smith's Weekly of the 5th September to the effect that " the detention quarters at Garden Island (Sydney) - -known to the sailors as ' Devil's Island '- are complained of? Regulationsthere it is said, have not been improved for 30 years. It isallegedthatnotalkingisallowed:straight jacketsandleg-ironsarestillusedforrefrac- tory prisoners;allmovementis'atthe double', some suffer close confinement on 1 lb. of bread and water a day, for from three in six days for the slightest deviation from the rules: the beds and pillowsareof hard wood ";

2.   Is this statement true?

The Minister for Defence has supplied the following answers : -

1.   Yes.

2.   The statement is misleading. Detention quarters have been established to obviatethe necessity of sending naval men to civil prison*. then aresent to detentionfor seriousoffences only. The regulations have been carefully drawn up, and were revised five years ago. They provide for a louse canvas restraint jacket and for irons, tint these may beused only in case of urgentnecessity-forexample, to preventa man who is sufferingfrom a mental affection from injuring himself. Further, close confinement is a punishment which is awarded only for seriousoffences committedbyamanafterenteringdetention quarters, it is not correct tosay that it is awarded for the slightest deviation from the rules.AllMen undergoing detention areunder the supervision of a medicalofficer, and have ample opportunity to lodge complaints.

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