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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?
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stinkerbell 12:17 pm 06 Mar 09

BerraBoy68 said :

FC said :

Good points FC but it should be noted that deviant kids can also come from loving caring homes and still end up on drugs, in prostitution etc. This can happen through their getting into the wrong crowd at school, ‘experimenting’ with drugs or petty crime and even through issues such as bullying, which can lead to low self-esteem and self-confidence issues, etc.. that effects kids mental states and subsequent behaviour. I’m not sure what the answer is (if I did I’d be a millionare) but it seems to me that blaming the home environment alone adresses only one part of a much bigger problem. I believe an holistic, long-term and co-ordinated (i.e. various govt Departments as well as welfare and social justice groups) approach is needed to address the many issues that can efeect kids and lead them down a dangerous and downwarldy spiralling path.

I absolutely agree with Berra Boy. Having recently been involved in this “system” – including Bimberi, Community Youth Justice and the various agencies around Canberra that offer young offenders programs and accomodation post Bimberi stays, the holistic approach is a long way off in Canberra. Like Berra Boy I wish I knew the answers.

I’m not sure I can agree that Bimberi offers firm boundaries however. My experiences included different boundaries depending on which worker was implementing them; and inexperienced workers buying into a popularity poll with the residents and the resulting stray from from written boundaries as a result.
Even management happily ignore written rules if it is more convenient to them at the time.
In my experience some of the youth that ‘check in’ to Bimberi have done so to check out the new facility, to catch up with friends, because their girl/boy friend is a current resident, to take a break from the craziness of their ‘outside’ life, because the food is good, simply because they got caught and to escape the latest threat of “I’ll get you” in the community. I have rarely heard anyone say they are at Bimberi to take advantage of the rehabilitation programs on offer.
Apologies for the huge post – I get a bit passionate about this!

FC 10:00 am 04 Mar 09

BerraBoy68 said :

FC said :

home life does make a big difference in so many ways to young peoples development and life skills. Sure there are the smaller proportion of people who grow up in abusive and neglectful situations who go onto to be healthy adults and thrive in life, however a lot will go onto experience problems with the law, drug or alchohol issues, voilence, learning difficulties, mental health issues. I think this shows that it is more than a “poor me” mantra

Good points FC but it should be noted that deviant kids can also come from loving caring homes and still end up on drugs, in prostitution etc. This can happen through their getting into the wrong crowd at school, ‘experimenting’ with drugs or petty crime and even through issues such as bullying, which can lead to low self-esteem and self-confidence issues, etc.. that effects kids mental states and subsequent behaviour. I’m not sure what the answer is (if I did I’d be a millionare) but it seems to me that blaming the home environment alone adresses only one part of a much bigger problem. I believe an holistic, long-term and co-ordinated (i.e. various govt Departments as well as welfare and social justice groups) approach is needed to address the many issues that can efeect kids and lead them down a dangerous and downwarldy spiralling path.

really good points Berra Boy. I agree with you whole heartedly on this one.

FC 9:58 am 04 Mar 09

pug206gti said :

I agree Bundy, nothing new here – the same was said about Quamby by people I knew working there and in the sector.

Home – dysfunction.
Juvi – friends, food, activities.

Not that there are any easy answers to these questions though.

I agree. they are tough issues and there are never simple/quick solutions.

BerraBoy68 9:52 am 04 Mar 09

FC said :

home life does make a big difference in so many ways to young peoples development and life skills. Sure there are the smaller proportion of people who grow up in abusive and neglectful situations who go onto to be healthy adults and thrive in life, however a lot will go onto experience problems with the law, drug or alchohol issues, voilence, learning difficulties, mental health issues. I think this shows that it is more than a “poor me” mantra

Good points FC but it should be noted that deviant kids can also come from loving caring homes and still end up on drugs, in prostitution etc. This can happen through their getting into the wrong crowd at school, ‘experimenting’ with drugs or petty crime and even through issues such as bullying, which can lead to low self-esteem and self-confidence issues, etc.. that effects kids mental states and subsequent behaviour. I’m not sure what the answer is (if I did I’d be a millionare) but it seems to me that blaming the home environment alone adresses only one part of a much bigger problem. I believe an holistic, long-term and co-ordinated (i.e. various govt Departments as well as welfare and social justice groups) approach is needed to address the many issues that can efeect kids and lead them down a dangerous and downwarldy spiralling path.

pug206gti 9:34 am 04 Mar 09

I agree Bundy, nothing new here – the same was said about Quamby by people I knew working there and in the sector.

Home – dysfunction.
Juvi – friends, food, activities.

Not that there are any easy answers to these questions though.

FC 8:37 am 04 Mar 09

“How are some of these kids meant to ‘be responsible’ (regardless of their home life) if they have never been taught or modelled responsbility”
Sorry this was meant to be referring to the OTHER types of young offenders. Not the ones who are just bored on a Saturday cos their parents didn’t buy them the new PS3 game.

FC 8:32 am 04 Mar 09

nyssa76 said :

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.

Nyssa there is a few types of young offenders. The kins that you seem to be referring to in your post, are more than likely not the ones who would prefer Bimberi to their home life.
How are some of these kids meant to ‘be responsible’ (regardless of their home life) if they have never been taught or modelled responsbility?

home life does make a big difference in so many ways to young peoples development and life skills.
Sure there are the smaller proportion of people who grow up in abusive and neglectful situations who go onto to be healthy adults and thrive in life, however a lot will go onto experience problems with the law, drug or alchohol issues, voilence, learning difficulties, mental health issues.
I think this shows that it is more than a “poor me” mantra

Granny 12:01 am 04 Mar 09

+2

poptop 11:57 pm 03 Mar 09

caf said :

Can we desist with this f.cking “+1” Cargo Cult already?

+1

caf 11:29 pm 03 Mar 09

Can we desist with this f.cking “+1” Cargo Cult already?

bd84 9:49 pm 03 Mar 09

If you build a hotel, people will want to go live there.

Reminds me, where do I go to sign up?

nyssa76 7:49 pm 03 Mar 09

sepi, I live in Tuggers. My own teen respects the law and society. Most of my students do too.

As a teen I lived in Belconnen. So what? The buses were crap back then too.

However, the argument again comes down to consequences for actions.

If parents aren’t being responsible then they too need to have suitable consequences.

If kids are breaking the law, suitable consequences should apply.

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