Longmore Remand and Assessment Centre opened on 27 January 1965, in Bentley. It was established by the Child Welfare Department and was named after Mr James Longmore, who was Superintendent of Public Charities and Inspector of Charitable Institutions from 1898 and, later, Secretary of the State Children Department. James Longmore had had an enormous influence on the development of the child welfare system in Western Australia, particularly through his role in designing the State Children Act 1907.
It is clear from annual reports of the Child Welfare Department and its successors that many of the children and young people who were placed at Longmore were gravely in need of protection. In 1968, for example 52 girls and 3 boys who had been admitted to Longmore had been treated for veneral disease; and in 1990 there was growing concern about the number of children suffering self-mutilation.
Longmore's role in both remand and assessment-related detention was also seen as problematic in its early years, with far more children being placed for detention than for assessment. And, of those placed for detention, a great many were young people who had defaulted on fines. Aboriginal children and young people also formed a disproportionately large cohort of admissions to Longmore from its earliest years of operation.
In September 1977, the remand and assessment programs were administered separately, although the institution remained as a single campus, sharing many services.
When the 'Remand Centre' program was described in 1979, its functions were: to provide 'care and protection in maximum security' for young people arrested and charged by police who were awaiting a court appearance, and those who had been remanded in custody by the courts. At that time, the Department for Community Welfare also reported (Signposts 2004) that the 'social education of young people in preparation for their return to the community' was an 'essential' function of the remand program. Up to 22 young people could be accommodated in the program. The 'Assessment Centre' program was a process that would help officers make 'informed and meaningful' plans for children's 'future placement and needs', according to the Department in 1979. Up to 60 children could be placed in the maximum security assessment centre program.
In October 1982 Longmore Hostel, which could accommodate six boys, was established in the grounds of the Longmore Remand and Assessment Centre. From September 1983, the Longmore Hostel became part of the Longmore Training Centre.
In September 1983 the remand and assessment programs were again combined, following a review which had determined that a separate facility was needed for young people who were going to be in detention for longer periods and who should be provided with structured and useful training programs. This new facility was called the Longmore Training Centre, and it opened in September 1983 in the buildings previously occupied by the Longmore Assessment Centre program.
Although annual reports continued to urge a limitation on the number of young people coming into Longmore for remand or assessment, there are repeated reports of admissions exceeding capacity. In 1986, the maximum capacity of 32 children was exceeded on 141 days in the year and in 1988 the number of admissions peaked at 3,017 - representing 1,230 individuals admitted into a facility with a capacity of 32 at any one time. A large minority of young people were admitted for less than 24 hours and by 1991, sixty-five percent were released within 48 hours.
On 1 July 1993, the responsibility for Longmore was transferred from the Department for Community Development to the Ministry of Justice. After this, the facility was merged with the Longmore Training Centre to become the Longmore Detention Centre.
21 October 2022
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00131
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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