23 June 2011

Youth justice changes

| johnboy
Join the conversation

Joy Burch has announced more handholding and less time in detention for Canberra’s young offenders.

Ms Burch today handed down the ACT Government’s interim response to its community consultation on developing a Diversion Framework for the youth justice system, and outlined the Government’s plans to expand sentencing options for young people and improve bail services to reduce the incidence of remand.

“The changes I am proposing today will create better continuity of support for young people in contact with the juvenile justice system,” Ms Burch said.

“We will achieve that through a single case management unit for all young offenders that will create more stable relationships between case managers and the people they work with.”

Ms Burch said that this would merge the existing detention-based and community youth justice-based case management systems so that one case manager was responsible for each young person throughout their contact with the youth justice system.

“One case manager will link the young person with support services and programs, so that the support that starts before, during and after detention continues with the same provider.”

Ms Burch said that this model would be enhanced by establishing a system of parole for young people in juvenile detention. While the granting of non-parole and parole periods is available to ACT judicial officers when sentencing adult offenders, this discretion is not available when sentencing minors.

“It is important that judicial officers have the same flexibility and discretion when sentencing minors so that there is an added incentive for young people to participate in rehabilitation and education programs while in custody, and potentially minimise the time they spend in custody.

When one considers the overwhelming victims of youth crime are other youth this hardly does a service to Canberra’s young people.

Poor impulse control combined with the natural bad risk assessment of youth rarely responds well to flexibility and discretion.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Have you ever thought that some kids are just plain bad. I read the Supreme Court sentences and almost all the offenders claim to have had a bad childhood. So what. Everyone in this city has choice. They can choose to steal or hit someone or drive when drunk. At the very least, first offenders should have weekend detention so they can experience what it’s like to have part of their freedom taken away.

johnboy said :

How many custodial sentences are being handed out to first time offenders?


How many custodial sentences are being handed out to first time offenders?

So you’d rather just lock ’em up and build bigger Bimberis as opposed to actually managing some of the reasons young people offend? It’s not always about poor impulse control and natural bad risk assessment otherwise all young poeple would become involved with community youth justice. Consider why particular young people (read from ‘known’ families, aboriginal or torres strait islander, homeless etc) are involved with CYJ and not other young people who consistently use violence, drive dangerously/drunk, steal and generally make life hell. There are socio-economic factors at play along with various other complex issues which, when managed appropriately, allow young offenders to ‘turn around’ and walk a fresh path.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.