Life as a Young, Indigenous, A-class Offender in Australia

– Hey, it's Sam from Vice's Brooklyn office Our colleagues 'down under' went to see what maximum security 'juvee' is like in Australia This is Briggs, live from 'juvee' Officer: A few things to start.

– when you come into the center you can't take mobile phones.

– keys.

and money inside – Don't ask the boys what crimes they committed to get into the center Officer: They can go from zero to one hundred in no time.

– so if anything happens.

just don't touch them, stand back – there will be youth officers there, let them take care of everything Officer: Okay, do you have any questions ? Briggs: Nah I'm good Briggs:.

Gotta get this bullshit out of my eyes – It's an early Sunday morning for Briggs Briggs: I'm here at the Reiby Juvenile Justice Center in Southwest Sydney – I want to go play some music.

– I am going to see how these kids are living.

– Try and experience.

y'know, their day to day.

as naturally as it could be.

Briggs: It's locked.

it's a jail.

A Jail is locked you idiot.

Briggs: Brother how are you ? Sam? I am here to drop him off Sam: He is a bit young Sam: Welcome to Reiby – This is the 'A-class' center for under 16 boys in New South Wales – so basically if you are classed as an 'A-class' kid this is where you will come – we have a high representation of indigenous boys in the center.

– anywhere from up to 60% to 70% can be indigenous kids Inmate: How you going bro ? Briggs: Good bro's how are you ? Inmate: Are you a rapper ? Briggs: Sometimes.

– how about you ? Inmate: Yeah sometimes.

I rap.

Briggs: Yeah? Inmate: So what are you doing today ? Briggs: Just come to see what you fellas are up to Briggs: What is an 'A-class' crime ? Sam: Um.

varying from assault, right up to murder – The serious offenders will basically come here Briggs: How you doing bro's ? KC: Good, yeah.

Briggs: You going to show me around ? Sam: he is on stage three, so he has worked pretty hard to get to this stage.

– that is why he gets to walk around in the Adidas top.

Briggs: So this is the art room? KC: yeah KC: I am doing a Goanna (Australian Lizard) Briggs: Oh 'nard' (slang for 'nice) – I'm a.

that looks good, what tribe are you ? Briggs: Can you see it on the map? KC: Waka Waka (Wakawaka tribe) Briggs:.

Queensland KC: yeah Briggs: I'm down here.

Briggs: Yorta Yorta (Yorta Yorta tribe) Briggs: are you're Wakawaka Briggs: Is that where your mum is from, or your dad ? KC: Both, my Mum and my Dad Sam: Over here y'know, we have structured programs, the boys know exactly.

– what time they're getting up, what time they're eating – they're going to school, so they've got all the routines Sam: This is.


the boys room Sam: let me just, I will do a quick check if that's alright KC: full sweet Sam: you will notice that the boys shoes are out, they are not allowed to take the shoes inside their rooms KC: this is my room 'cuz' – kick back play on the PSP Briggs: So you're allowed to have a PSP ? KC: yeah.

Sam: they are eligible if they make their points, to get a PSP (Playstation Portable) KC:.

You can get whatever you want, Sunsilk.

Palm Olive body wash Briggs: Haha, you can get all your locks correct KC: yeah Briggs: what do you watch? KC: watch?.

I just watch the news or something.



KC: kickback Briggs: same! Briggs: that's all I watch, is news and cartoons too – who you call ?.

when do you use the phone ? KC: my mum Briggs: call mum ? KC: yeah I was talking to her last night Briggs: yeah? did you tell her that I was coming in ? KC: nah.

Briggs: Tell her I said 'what's up' KC: Yeah KC: Yeah, this is the Ping-Pong room.


And you can do whatever you want in here, but you can't eat and drink in here Briggs: Ah.

I heard 'have mercy', and you have been practicing KC: I have been here for 5 months so.

(Everybody laughing) Lee: Every boy in this center has an amazing love for his Mum and Dad.

– with the little boys we were talking about.

– the 'Hansel and Gretle' story.

– and the kids were saying "who would abandon their kids ?".

– but then, one of the boys said.

– ".

Well actually I muck up, because I feel like my Mum and Dad abandon me" Sam: then there's like a turnstile, where the boys are in and out a lot of times.

– I've seen a boy come in 10 years old and y'know, leave here at 16 Briggs: How long you been in here for ? Buddy: Only got here, like.

6 weeks ago Briggs: Yeah? Buddy: Yeah.

Buddy: I was here before Briggs: yeah? Buddy: Yeah, wasn't planning on come back in, but Briggs: Yeah.

I don't think anyone plans to – So you got any cousins in here ? Buddy: Nah.

not now.


Before, I was here last time there was heaps, I had heaps of cousins Briggs: Yeah? Buddy: All in the same unit Briggs: Oh true ? Buddy: Yeah it was mad.

Buddy: This is the coffee shop in here, room is there.

Briggs: "Hard luck Cafe" Haha! – Who named it that ? Haha! Briggs: So you make the coffees with the visitors? Buddy: Yeah, visitors and workers.

Briggs: The workers ? Buddy: The first time.

I was in for 8 months.

Briggs: Yeah? Buddy: Yeah.

Briggs: Weren't planning on coming back? Buddy: It's just coming back to the Coffee shop for me.

Sam: This is uh.

the curtains for privacy and for checks as well.

Because, once they are in their rooms.

if they're is 'self-harmers'.

– they could be on 5 minute checks until they go to sleep for about an hour -.

Otherwise Sam: No, no.

I am not saying that you are.


But otherwise, it is 20 minute checks.

– you have got to check in every room, every 20 minutes Sam: We are just going to go up to 'Whiskey Unit' – We have got a young person there who is on the DRMP the.

– 'Detainee Risk Management Plan' Briggs: Yeah Sam: Now um.

he will be in a.

'suicide gown' – So.

don't be alarmed – you have, also have youth officers there with him.

They will have the helmet on Sam: Because young person has a tendency to.

– sometimes spit at people.

lash out – So just uh, be mindful of that Sam: I bought you, someone special to meet Briggs: How you doing brother ? Briggs: Yeah ? Briggs: ah.

I heard you're from Albury ? Briggs: Yeah, I am from Shepparton.

– I've got heaps of family in Albury – North of bridges, where the airport is and that ? – What are you playing ? Briggs: I don't know how to play, come on you'd have to teach me – How old are you ? – Fifteen ? When did you turn fifteen ? – How long have you been up here for ? – Ah yeah, what's that.

six months ? – What do you want to do when you get out ? – Yeah? – How are you finding it.

How you finding working with.

with Sam ? Sam: It can't be ! I'm eating all the chocolates, I'm the one putting on the weight, not you ! Briggs: Yeah! – Yeah? Sam: He wrote a rap actually.

Briggs: Did you ? Sam: He has.

but, uh.

Briggs: Do you remember it? Dizzy: Yeah.

– can.

can I hear it ? Sam: Yeah do it!, come on, do it.

Briggs: 'Bruz'.

– my 'bruddah' (slang for 'brother') Briggs: Thanks for the time brothers, thanks for talking to me and having a chat Dizzy: Yeah.

Briggs: Good to see you open.

Y'know what I mean ? – and maybe find that blonde thing ? – Haha.

when you get back there ? Dizzy: Yeah.

Briggs: Look after yourself, y'know what I mean ?.

take care of yourself – and I will see you back home 'bruz' ('brother') Briggs: You know, I was sitting with the young fella with the 'suicide gown' on, he just turned 15.


He hasn't even lived.

– a life to end it yet Briggs: We are going to go do a show – I'm going to do some tracks, and we're going to.

– perform and do something, and I'm gonna talk to the kids.

Briggs: What's that ? Briggs:.

I will figure it out, I will figure it out as I go along – I just won't swear.

simple – You should do that thing where you punish everyone else, so I feel really bad about it Sam: yeah, If you swear we'll write up all the kids.


Just because they heard me Briggs: one of my DJ's, so.

– because, you can't teach me a lesson.

– so you have to teach him a lesson, to make me understand empathy Sam: Come on Sam: Because it's an 'A-Class' center it is very hard to organize programs where they can actually mix.

– you know, there is a lot of risk assessment they gave into.

– obviously the boys that can't mix won't calm down and unfortunately.

– that's just the way it is Sam: It can be a nightmare, but this is a really good nightmare to have.

– because, that's what these boys need – A lot of the times in their life, they don't have a lot of positive role models.

Sam: Okay boys! – everybody put your hands together for.

– "Briggs" Briggs: Thank you ( Briggs – 'Bad Apples' ) Briggs: I remember when I was your age, a few of my cousins got locked up.

– and that was only my first taste, of um.

someone my own age.

– going into the system, and that.

– and that's why now, it's important for me to come back – come out and talk to.

– fellas like yourselves.

– want to let you know that, there are fellas out here.

– outside thinking, about you.

and want to help Briggs: that depends brothers, like.

one song can take.

– you can spend a couple of hours on it, and some songs.

– might mean more to you, so you might spend more time.

– writing it, and changing it, and making it right.

Briggs: heaps! – heaps!.


– he's a natural !.

wooh! – he's a natural ! Sam: Thank you boys!.

Briggs: How you doing 'bruz' ? Good ? Tilz: How you going brother ? Sam: We've bought up Briggs because, you know, you couldn't come down to the hall to see the performance.

– but I wanted him to.

Come and meet you Tilz: Yeah? Briggs: I wanted to come up and say 'hello' man – show me your room ? Tilz: alright.

Briggs: who's this little one ? – yeah? how long you been in here for ? Tilz: uh, I've done 6 months.

Got another 3 to go bro.

but I've still got more charges to come Briggs: yeah.

how old are you ? Tilz: 15, turn 16 on 23rd October, 'bruh'.

Briggs: yeah? Tilz: Hopefully when I get out.

– I can change my life around 'bruddah', I want to maybe do some boxing 'cuz'.

– because I like fighting 'bruh'.


It's a good thing, but.

Briggs: Do it.

– you do it the right way, you can do it, make it a good thing eh, not a negative ? Tilz: yeah bro.

I don't know, a few my cousins, I kicked the front fence out.

– and ran around the front compound, I ran out my cousins.

Briggs: Drop kicked it ? Tilz: nah.

like 'Kangaroo' kicked it – and then yeah like.

they put me on down, up here – that's like, I had the 'Detainee Risk Management Plan' Briggs: So you can't do school while your on 'DRMP' ? Tilz: Nah.

can't do it 'bruddah' – because I am not allowed to go with sharp objects in that place.

Briggs: Yeah? – I only got all my toiletries and photo's and that back.

they would.


– Friday 'cuz' Briggs: get it.

that would be good eh? having your sisters back there ? Tilz: yeah 'bruh' its heaps better because it's something to remind me of.

Briggs: the good things eh? Tilz: Yeah like a.

– good thing.

I only just got my access to go like out in the front part there 'cuz' – get some Sun !.

– I'm turning white 'bruddah' ! haha! – I'm better out, 'bruddah'.

– yeah I've been good, so if they don't get me off on Tuesday.

Briggs: Yeah Tilz: Turn out.

that will be good 'bruh' Briggs: stay off them roof's and stop 'Kangaroo' kicking.

Tilz: true bro !.

it's not worth it 'cuz', gets me stuffed Briggs: Any time you feel like that man, just remember.

Tilz: yeah my mum and my sisters.

– know what I mean?.

that's the bigger picture 'bruz' Briggs: You know, this system is.

I don't like it, never have.

– but it's great to see people, genuine people.

– with a genuine heart.

– working with the kids.

– to try and help them, keep out of the system – the difference these kids.

– have with.

– the opportunities that they've been afforded aren't the same, there's a lot of potential.

– you know, behind.

– you know.

all this razor wire.

– it would be a shame to lose all of that.

Source: Youtube