Device a helmet, not a spit mask, says Minister
THE Queensland goverrnment has denied a 17-year-old boy was restrained with a spit mask, instead describing the device as a helmet.
"The image used in media reports today shows correction officers applying a helmet. This is used to protect a prisoner from injuring themselves," Corrections Minister Bill Byrne told parliament on Tuesday.
"This government also takes the safety of our corrections officers seriously."
"This government does not tolerate the mistreatment of prisoners."
The comments came as vision released by The Courier-Mail show a 17-year-old boy being restrained by seven officers who handcuff him to a body belt before placing the helmet over his head.
Peter Lyons, the director of the Prisoners' Legal Service, told the ABC the boy had reported use of excessive force by the officers.
He said the boy was in a cell by himself and had no reading materials, no television and his visits were limited.
Mr Lyons also said the mattress was taken out of the cell so the boy could not sleep during the day.
The use of spit devices came to pubic attention and gained notoriety when it was used by correctional services staff at a youth detention centre in the Northern Territory.
The fallout from that furore led the Federal Government to authorise a Royal Commission into the abuse.
At the time of the outcry the Queensland Government said the spit hood was not used in this state at all.