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If youth detention is better than home should we be finding the youth better homes?

By johnboy - 3 March 2009 32

Alistair Coe has put out a media release prompted by statements in committee from the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services that many inmates in the new Bimberi youth detention centre prefer custody to their homes lives.

This raises a lot of dangers, not least creating a desire to re-offend when released which endangers the public.

But rather than make them break rocks do we need to find ways to give them safe and decent lives when they’re not guilty of crimes?

To his credit Coe seems to be thinking down the same track:

    “If the system is failing these kids on so many levels, we need to carefully look at the entirety of that system to protect these young people and their families.”

UPDATED: The ABC has some more context on this:

    Department chief executive Martin Hehir says some indigenous elders have told them that the offenders are happier in Bimberi.

    “Many of the young people who end up in Bimberi have come from fairly chaotic circumstances, they probably wouldn’t be used to being fed on a regular basis, they probably wouldn’t be all that used to positive respectful relationships and that’s what they get in Bimberi,” he said.

    “That applies quite broadly to many of the occupants, it’s not just the indigenous people.”

What’s Your opinion?


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32 Responses to
If youth detention is better than home should we be finding the youth better homes?
nyssa76 6:04 pm 03 Mar 09

Can we get off the ‘there isn’t much to do in Canberra’ BS?

Kids today want entertainment provided to them or else they’re bored and cause havoc.

Years ago kids made their own forms of entertainment and the rates of ‘poor me’ were a hell of a lot lower and actually justified.

I wonder how many ‘bad’ homes some of them come from and how many kids who aren’t being helped actually need it.

housebound, there are many adults out there who, as children, had a really bad home life and then became teens who didn’t break the law or abuse people or do anything anti-social. It’s about being responsible, regardless of home life.

The sooner we stop with the ‘poor me’ mantra and actually give consequences for actions based on the action and not the ‘home life’ the better.

Tooks 6:00 pm 03 Mar 09

No kid (well, none I’ve spoken to anyway) prefers Bimberi to home. The usual comment when asked about Bimberi are “it’s not too bad”. If they re-offend, it’s got nothing to do with wanting to go back there.

Gobbo 5:59 pm 03 Mar 09

Would you see this service providing their meals for them, peterh?

The issue of not being fed appropriately doesn’t go away.

(Though your suggestion has a lot of merit.)

peterh 5:54 pm 03 Mar 09

Skidbladnir said :

Make aspects of the prison the baseline standard for Children’s Services?
(apart from the complete lack of freedom, pool, the 24hr attention, stabbings, etc…)

Getting Canberra to the point where it really -is- the social utopia Coe wants may be a bit expensive though.
But, he is in Opposition, so he just has no need to actually provide, just tear holes.

true, but there could be better focuses on the youth in canberra. Apart from the youth centres, there is nothing around for them to do, so they make their own “fun”, and end up in a country club facility. a drop in centre that was of the same standard as the detention centre in each of the areas around canberra wouldn’t hurt, and recognising that a 24-year old isn’t a youth anymore might allow younger kids to go to the youth centres. many kids stay away from them as they feel intimidated by the older people there…

housebound 5:35 pm 03 Mar 09

I’m on Coe’s side (and other’s). What sort of modern society is happy to abandon little kids to crap circumstances and then blame them when they are off-the-rails youth.

I would also question the reliability of any comment from a DHCS officer that kids ‘liked’ what they do to them! Somehow it sounds more like bureaucratic self-justification than reality.

I would like to hear the kids say it themselves.

Skidbladnir 5:07 pm 03 Mar 09

Make aspects of the prison the baseline standard for Children’s Services?
(apart from the complete lack of freedom, pool, the 24hr attention, stabbings, etc…)

Getting Canberra to the point where it really -is- the social utopia Coe wants may be a bit expensive though.
But, he is in Opposition, so he just has no need to actually provide, just tear holes.

chewy14 5:01 pm 03 Mar 09

Maybe then, it should be their parents who are being locked up?

Gobbo 4:43 pm 03 Mar 09

But rather than make them break rocks do we need to find ways to give them safe and decent lives when they’re not guilty of crimes?

Do you think they would want interference in their home lives? If they did, would their parents?

Granny 4:34 pm 03 Mar 09

+1

jakez 4:27 pm 03 Mar 09

Special G said :

And again the system has failed them. Just one more person/thing to blame for their actions other than themselves.

Make them break rocks.

The problem with that Special G is they aren’t actually blaming anyone. They have simply said that Bimberi is better than the crap existence they had at home. I can absolutely understand.

caf 4:27 pm 03 Mar 09

Special G, your comment is a complete non-sequitur.

Jim Jones 4:09 pm 03 Mar 09

Ah, blame the victim. I love that game.

Special G 4:00 pm 03 Mar 09

And again the system has failed them. Just one more person/thing to blame for their actions other than themselves.

Make them break rocks.

johnboy 3:13 pm 03 Mar 09

well, except there are limited spaces at a secure facility.

The voluntary admissions shouldn’t be as expensive to care for if they don’t need 24 hours security and monitoring.

caf 3:06 pm 03 Mar 09

Isn’t the obvious answer to allow young people to voluntarily commit themselves, similar to the way in which patients with mental illnesses can voluntarily commit themselves to institutions?

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