Giles House Juvenile Detention and Training Centre was opened by the government in Alice Springs in 1978. It operated as a secure detention and training facility for young people who had committed offences. It provided accommodation for up to 27 young people, many of whom were Aboriginal. Giles House closed in 1991 when the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre in Darwin was opened. Young people on remand and sentenced were then sent to Darwin. Giles House reopened under new management as Aranda House in 1993-1994.
Giles House was opened by the Department of Community and Social Development of the Northern Territory Government at Kempe Street in Alice Springs in 1978. It was the first juvenile detention centre in the Northern Territory. In planning documents it was originally referred to as the Assessment, Training and Security Facility in Alice Springs. The purpose of the facility was described in a 1977 departmental planning document as follows:
This facility will cater for juveniles who are awaiting sentences or who have been sentenced by the Court and are committed to the care of the Director of Child Welfare. The facility will hold twenty juveniles but actual numbers cannot be predicted as the number of inmates depends on Court decisions.
The aim of Giles House was to ensure that young people who had committed crimes did not go to an adult prison but were instead housed separately. The Centre, which from the 1980s also ran life skills and education programs, was intended to accommodate up to 25 juveniles. However, between July 1984 and August 1985 the number of residents ranged widely from 9 to 27. Of these residents, eighty percent were Aboriginal with one third being from Groote Eylandt. These young people were almost entirely cut off from family during their time in Alice Springs. Others committed to the Home came from remote Central Australian communities.
Giles House closed in 1991 when the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre in Darwin was opened. From that year young offenders from the southern part of the Northern Territory, both those on remand and those sentenced, were sent to this more secure facility.
Giles House reopened as Aranda House in 1993-1994, operating under new management with different services and programs.
Sources used to compile this entry: Northern Territory Government Department of Correctional Services Annual Report 1993-1994, NT Government, Department of Correctional Services, Northern Territory Government, Darwin, 1994; Report of the Northern Territory Task Force on Juvenile Crime, Darwin, 1995; Atkinson, Lynn, 'An overview of juvenile detention in Australia', in National Conference on Juvenile Detention, 10-13 August 1993, Australian Government: Australian Institute of Criminology, 2011, https://aic.gov.au/sites/default/files/publications/proceedings/downloads/25-atkinson.pdf; Bonney, Annie, 'Juvenile justice in the Northern Territory: an overview of the 1990s - Research Paper No. 1', in Territory stories, Northern Territory Library, Northern Territory Library, April 1995, https://hdl.handle.net/10070/741882; Bonney, Annie, 'Background to mandatory sentencing of juvenile offenders: a Northern Territory perspective - Research paper No. 14', in Territory stories, Northern Territory Library, Northern Territory Library, 1996, https://hdl.handle.net/10070/741891; Department of Justice, Northern Territory Government, Review of the Northern Territory Youth Justice system, Darwin, September 2011, https://hdl.handle.net/10070/614625; Howlett, C, 'Cultures of institutional violence: deaths in juvenile detention', Journal of Australian Studies, vol. 19, no. 43, 1995, pp. 24-35; Pearce, Elizabeth, 'Aboriginal customary law', in Proceedings of the Private Sector and Community Involvement in the Criminal Justice System Conference, 30 November - 2 December 1992, Wellington, New Zealand, 1992; F1411 Social Development files, Box 13, SD 287, Draft Estimates 1977/78, NTAS, Darwin.
Prepared by: Megg Kelham and Karen George
Created: 15 November 2012, Last modified: 15 May 2014