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Youth justice in Victoria

Executive Summary

This paper provides an overview of the changing nature of youth offenders and youth offending and the pressures that these have placed on the youth justice system, as well as the related policy developments of the Andrews Government. (Section 12)

Victoria has long been regarded as the leader in youth justice with significantly lower rates of young people on remand or serving custodial sentences than other Australian jurisdictions. Evidence shows consistently fewer young people are offending each year and young people are responsible for a diminishing proportion of all crime committed in Victoria. (Section 5)

Despite these positive developments, there is a small but increasing cohort of young people exhibiting violent behaviours who are responsible for a disproportionate number of offences. (Section 7)

Youth justice is a complex issue that encompasses important areas of public policy, including systemic disadvantage, community safety, offender rehabilitation and the human rights of children and young people. Youth justice is distinct from the mainstream criminal justice system due to the unique circumstances and the context of youth offending. (Section 2)

The causes and effects of youth offending and the state of Victoria's youth justice system have become the subject of widespread debate following a series of violent incidents in Victorian youth justice centres.

Although diversion is fundamental to reducing reoffending by young people, access to diversion programs has been somewhat limited, particularly for young people in rural and regional Victoria. Access to bail support programs has also been limited. (Sections 3.7 and 10.3)

The unprecedented proportion of young people in youth justice centres held on remand creates significant challenges in the management of these centres and complicates the process of rehabilitation of young people. (Section 10)

Investigations by the Victorian Ombudsman and, most recently, by the Commissioner for Children and Young People, have detailed concerns about circumstances within youth justice centres and the treatment of young people held therein. These investigations have found that young people have been subjected to conditions that breach their rights as provided for by the Children and Young People Act 2005 (Vic) and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006 (Vic). (Sections 8 and 9)

An analysis of similar investigations in other Australian jurisdictions shows that these issues are not unique to Victoria. (Section 9.1)

The significant over-representation of Indigenous people in the youth justice system is another particularly complex and systemic issue common to each Australian state and territory. This over-representation reflects the multi-layered nature of disadvantage and marginalisation experienced by Indigenous people. The Koori Youth Justice Program aims to reduce over-representation through early intervention services targeting young people at risk of offending and people on community-based and custodial orders. (Section 6)


 

List of Abbreviations

AIHW

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

CCYP

Commission for Children and Young People

CSA

Crime Statistics Agency

DHHS

Department of Health and Human Services

DJR

Department of Justice and Regulation

OPCAT

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture

SAC

Sentencing Advisory Council

VEOHRC

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

VLA

Victoria Legal Aid

 

1. The Victorian youth justice framework

In February 2017, the Andrews Government announced that the Department of Justice and Regulation (DJR) would assume responsibility for the youth justice system, including all custodial and community-based youth justice services, from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as of 3 April 2017.[footnote 1]

The current youth justice policy – A Balanced Approach to Juvenile Justice in Victoria (2000) – details a three-pronged approach, focusing on:

§ diverting young people from entering the youth justice system, or progressing further into a life of crime;

§ providing better rehabilitation of high-risk young offenders; and

§ expanding pre-release, transition and post-release support programs for custodial clients to reduce the risk of reoffending.[footnote 2]

1.1 Structure

Youth justice services are currently provided by the Youth Justice and Disability Forensic Unit, youth justice teams, Youth Justice Custodial Services, youth justice senior practice advisers and community service organisations. It is unclear how this structure will change when DJR assumes responsibility for the youth justice system on 3 April 2017.

The Youth Justice and Disability Forensic Unit undertakes review, design and development of specialised statutory services. Youth justice teams supervise young people on statutory orders residing in the community. The youth justice centres are structured as follows:

§ Parkville Youth Residential Centre: 10 to 14-year-old males, 10 to 20-year-old females;

§ Melbourne Youth Justice Centre: 15 to 18-year-old males;

§ Malmsbury Secure Youth Justice Centre: 15 to 20-year-old males;

§ Malmsbury Senior Youth Justice Centre: 18 to 20-year-old males.

The Grevillea Unit at Barwon Prison has been gazetted as a youth justice facility and remand centre following damage to the Parkville Youth Residential Centre during riots in November 2016 which reduced its capacity.[footnote 3]

1.2 The legal framework

The Children, Youth and Families Act 2005(Vic) (the Act) is the principal legislation for Victoria's youth justice service. Chapter 7 of the Act provides for the constitution of the Children's Court of Victoria and Part 5.1 provides for the criminal responsibility of children. The Children's Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine charges against children and young people aged 10 years or over but under 18 years at the time of the alleged offence and aged under 19 years when court proceedings begin.[footnote 4] Other legislation relating to the youth justice service includes:

§ Sentencing Act 1991;

§ Crimes Act 1958;

§ Bail Act 1977;

§ Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004; and

§ Family Violence Protection Act 2008.

There are ten sentencing orders under s360(1) of the Act when a child is found guilty of an offence:

(a) dismissal (without conviction)

(b) non-accountable undertaking (without conviction)

(c) accountable undertaking (without conviction)

(d) good behaviour bond (without conviction)

(e) fine (with or without conviction)

(f) probation (with or without conviction)

(g) youth supervision order (with or without conviction)

(h) youth attendance order (with conviction)

(i) detention in youth residential centre (with conviction)

(j) detention in youth justice centre (with conviction)


Section 362(1) of the Act requires that the Children's Court have regard to:

(a) the need to strengthen and preserve the relationship between the child and the child's family; and

(b) the desirability of allowing the child to live at home; and

(c) the desirability of allowing the education, training or employment of the child to continue without interruption or disturbance; and

(d) the need to minimise the stigma to the child resulting from a court determination; and

(e) the suitability of the sentence to the child; and

(f) if appropriate, the need to ensure that the child is aware that he or she must bear a responsibility for any action by him or her against the law; and

(g) if appropriate, the need to protect the community, or any person, from the violent or other wrongful acts of the child.


The Children's Court is not required to have regard to general deterrence as a relevant sentencing factor, in contrast to the sentencing of adult offenders.[footnote 5]

1.2.1 The age of criminal responsibility

The age of criminal responsibility in Victoria is 10 years. Section 344 of the Act states '[footnote i]t is conclusively presumed that a child under the age of 10 years cannot commit an offence.' The common law doctrine doli incapax holds that a child younger than 14 years is incapable of committing a crime because they cannot form the necessary criminal intent (mens rea). The prosecution must prove beyond all doubt that the accused knew at the time of committing the offence that their conduct was seriously wrong as distinct from naughty. The presumption has been strongly affirmed by the Court of Appeal in Victoria.[footnote 6]

1.2.2 The Charter of Human Rights

The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006(Vic) (the Charter) provides for protection of the rights of an accused child. Section 23 of the Charter states:

(1) An accused child who is detained or a child detained without charge must be segregated from all detained adults.

(2) An accused child must be brought to trial as quickly as possible.

(3) A child who has been convicted of an offence must be treated in a way that is appropriate for his or her age.


Section 25(3) states that '[footnote a] child charged with a criminal offence has the right to a procedure that takes account of his or her age and the desirability of promoting the child's rehabilitation.'

1.2.3 Convention on the Rights of the Child

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Convention) similarly recognises and affirms the unique circumstances of children who face criminal charges. It articulates several key principles relevant to sentencing young offenders, including:

§ the best interests of the child as a primary consideration in decision making;[footnote 7]

§ diversion from judicial proceedings, where appropriate;[footnote 8]

§ proportionate sentencing;[footnote 9]

§ an emphasis on rehabilitation;[footnote 10] and

§ the use of detention as a last resort and for minimal time frame.[footnote 11]

While the Convention has not been incorporated into Australian law, meaning that it cannot operate as a direct source of law,[footnote 12] Australian courts have been prepared to consider international human rights conventions in exercising sentencing discretions.[footnote 13] In Director of Public Prosecutions v TY (No 3), Justice Bell held that the Convention was significant in that it supplied a further basis for, and reinforced 'the existing principle of giving primary emphasis to youth and rehabilitation as a mitigating factor when sentencing children.'[footnote 14] However, his Honour also emphasised that other considerations should be taken into account where the crime is very serious and that the Convention can 'cut both ways' where the victim is a child.[footnote 15]

1.3 The dual track system

Some 18 to 20 year olds convicted of serious offences can be detained in a youth justice centre instead of an adult prison if the court believes the young person has reasonable prospects for rehabilitation, or is particularly impressionable, immature or likely to be subjected to undesirable influences in an adult prison.[footnote 16] This dual track system reflects the key policy objective of diverting young people from the youth justice system.[footnote 17] Around half of all 18–20 year olds in the dual track system are in the youth justice system.[footnote 18]

2. The context of youth offending

It is widely acknowledged internationally and within Australia that responses to youth offending must reflect the unique circumstances of young people, including:

§ the developmental nature of adolescence and its link to offending;

§ the criminogenic effect of imprisonment; and

§ the public interest rehabilitation of young people.[footnote 19]

2.1 Adolescence and offending

Children in the criminal justice system receive different treatment to adults because they are assumed to 'lack the degree of insight, judgement and self-control'[footnote 20] of a rational adult and may often act impulsively without weighing up the consequences of their actions. Research shows that this behaviour is linked to the rapid changes in biology, cognition and emotion that occur during adolescence which affect response inhibition, the calibration of risks and rewards and the regulation of emotions.[footnote 21] Incomplete brain development, an attraction to risk-taking behaviour and underdeveloped consequential thinking creates a lack of impulse control which research suggests may undermine adolescents' ability to refrain from criminal behaviour.[footnote 22]

Young people are also more vulnerable to risk factors that contribute to offending, such as mental health problems and alcohol and other drug use.[footnote 23] This is compounded by the effects of peer pressure, which children and young people are particularly vulnerable to[footnote 24] due to the developmental changes associated with adolescence and the role of peer networks in the lives of young people.[footnote 25]

The relationship between adolescence and offending underpins the differing approaches to children and adults in the Victorian justice system in which children and young people are deemed less culpable than adults.[footnote 26] On this relationship, President of the Children's Court of New South Wales (NSW) Peter Johnstone observed:

This is not to say that the findings from neurobiology research exculpate all young offenders from criminal responsibility. Rather, these findings indicate that there is a grey area between right and wrong when considering the moral culpability of a young offender.[footnote 27]

2.2 Imprisonment increases probability of reoffending

Another factor shaping youth justice policy in Victoria is the criminogenic effect of custody on a young person whose brain is still developing.[footnote 28] Findings from several studies indicate that a young offender who participates in a diversion program is far less likely to reoffend than a young person whose case is determined in court and who is subsequently incarcerated.[footnote 29] This includes controlling for various factors likely to influence recidivism.

Research by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) found that of offenders aged 10–16 who were released from sentenced detention, 50 per cent returned to sentenced supervision within six months and 76 per cent returned within 12 months.[footnote 30] Of offenders who were released from supervised community-based sentence, 20 per cent returned to sentenced supervision within six months and 44 per cent returned within 12 months. There are several explanations for this. Firstly, the court process can have a stigmatising effect on a young person by labelling them as 'deviant'. This negative labelling can marginalise young people, which can lead to secondary deviance whereby they begin to identify with and adopt such identities.[footnote 31] A young person may gravitate towards groups of deviant peers due to negative labelling, which produces further criminal socialisation and, thereby, increases the risk of reoffending.[footnote 32] This concern is reflected in the statutory obligation on the Children's Court of Victoria to have regard to the need to minimise the stigma to the child resulting from a court determination in considering a sentence.[footnote 33]

Secondly, incarcerating a young offender can have a criminogenic effect by creating delinquent peer groups which increases the probability of further offending in the future.[footnote 34] Studies indicate that rates of offending usually peak in late adolescence and decline in early adulthood. As most young people grow out of offending, diversion and early intervention play an important part in avoiding the criminogenic effects of incarceration,[footnote 35] thereby stopping the cycle of offending before it begins.

2.3 Rehabilitation reduces reoffending

The process of development and maturation that diminishes a young offender's culpability also provides a unique opportunity for rehabilitation, which minimises the risk of reoffending.[footnote 36] This is reflected in the youth justice policyA Balanced Approach to Juvenile Justice in Victoria, which cites the following statement in R v Mills as a guide to the Government's directions for youth justice:

'In the case of a youthful offender, rehabilitation is usually far more important than general deterrence. This is because punishment may in fact lead to further offending. Thus, for example, individualised treatment focusing on rehabilitation is to be preferred. Rehabilitation benefits the community as well as the offender.'[footnote 37]

By focusing on addressing the underlying causes of youth offending, rehabilitation reduces reoffending by reconnecting young people with family, school, accommodation and other services. Accordingly, the focus of the Act is predominantly rehabilitative,[footnote 38] as is the central overarching aim of sentencing in the Children's Court.[footnote 39] Where necessary, however, the Court must balance this objective with the need to protect the community, to specifically deter offenders and to ensure offenders are held accountable for their actions.[footnote 40]

3. Youth justice interventions

Victorian youth justice services are underpinned by the following priorities:

a. diverting young people from entering or progressing further into the criminal justice system;

b. providing better rehabilitation of high risk offenders; and

c. delivering pre-release, transition and post-release support programs to reduce the risk of reoffending.[footnote 41]


Evidence shows that most crimes committed by young people involve low-level offences and that most young people grow out of offending as they mature.[footnote 42] Further, the later a young person enters the justice system, the less likely they are to have continued involvement.[footnote 43] Accordingly, diversion is central to Victoria's youth justice system.

3.1 Police cautioning

Victoria Police can issue formal cautions to young people depending on the following factors:

§ the seriousness of the crime;

§ the circumstances of the young offender and the victim;

§ the extent of damage or injury caused;

§ whether a caution would effectively deter the young offender from future offending;

§ the number of people affected by the crime; and

§ whether a caution has been previously issued to the young offender.[footnote 44]

Victoria Police have found cautioning effective in deterring reoffending, reporting that one year after being cautioned, 80 per cent of young people have not reoffended and after three years, 65 per cent have not reoffended.[footnote 45]

Analysis of police cautioning

Victoria Police are the primary gatekeepers of diversion in Victoria, as is the case with police forces throughout Australia.[footnote 46] Unlike other jurisdictions, however, formal cautioning by Victoria Police is not underpinned by legislation.[footnote 47] Other jurisdictions have enacted police cautioning in legislation to:

§ create consistency in diversion decisions;

§ avoid the targeting of minorities, such as Indigenous youth; and

§ increase the number of young people being diverted from the criminal justice system.[footnote 48]

The data on Victoria Police cautioning supports concern about the discretionary nature of cautioning. One study of police cautioning found that formal cautioning rates for 2010-2011 range from 14 per cent in Melbourne and Yarra to 31 per cent in Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong and Wyndham.[footnote 49] Analysis of data by offence type reveals greater variation, with the proportion of young people cautioned for crimes against the person ranging from 22.4 per cent in Horsham to 1.3 per cent in the Melbourne and Yarra region.[footnote 50] Similarly, for offences against property, the proportion of young people formally cautioned in Hosbons Bay, Maribyrnong and Wyndham was 39.6 per cent, compared to 13.3 per cent in Latrobe.[footnote 51]

Research shows that discretionary police powers to caution can be used discriminatorily, towards marginalised groups such as homeless young people and people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in particular.[footnote 52] Studies have also found that young Indigenous people are less likely to receive police referrals to diversionary processes than others.[footnote 53] In 2009, the Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee Inquiry into Strategies to Prevent High Volume Offending and Recidivism by Young People recommended that the rules, procedures, guidelines and administration of police cautioning be incorporated into legislation so that all apprehended young people could benefit from the strategy of diversion.[footnote 54] This may help to create consistency in diversion decisions, avoid the targeting of minorities, such as Indigenous youth, and increase the number of young people being diverted away from the criminal justice system.[footnote 55] The Government Response to the report noted that Victoria Police would consider the recommendation on police cautioning during the re-evaluation of its Child and Youth Strategy 2009-2013.[footnote 56]

3.2 Drug Diversion Program

People apprehended by police for use or possession of an illicit drug other than cannabis may participate in the Drug Diversion Program. To be eligible for a caution under the program, the person must:

§ be over 10 years of age;

§ be arrested for the use and/or possession of a small (non-trafficable) amount of illicit drugs other than cannabis;

§ admit to the offence; and

§ not have received any more than one previous cautioning notice.[footnote 57]

3.3 Cannabis Caution

Police may issue a Cannabis Caution to a person caught with a small amount of cannabis providing they admit to owning it. The procedure for a cannabis caution is the same as that of a police caution, as described above.

3.4 Ropes Program

The Ropes Program is a court diversion program involving Victoria Police, the Children's Court of Victoria and youth workers. It is aimed at first-time offenders who have committed minor offences.[footnote 58] Ropes only operates in metropolitan Melbourne and in a small number of country regions.[footnote 59]

To be eligible for Ropes:

§ the young person must have been under the age of 18 when the offence was committed;

§ the offence must be triable summarily;

§ the young person must admit the offence and have only received cautions in the past or be appearing in the Children's Court for the first time;

§ the young person must not have previously participated in a Ropes course;

§ the young person must agree to participate and parents or guardians must also agree; and

§ the young person must be considered suitable.[footnote 60]

A young person participating in the program undertakes a ropes course or rock climbing, as well as education sessions about the implications of a criminal record and how to avoid further antisocial behaviour.[footnote 61] Upon successful completion of the program, police recommend to the court that the charge be struck out. As a result, there is no finding of guilt and no sentencing order.[footnote 62]

A KPMG evaluation of Ropes found that although it is valuable to young people as a second chance, it is less likely to bring about sustained change amongst those most likely to reoffend.[footnote 63] Rates of reoffending of young people participating in the program are around 10 to 12 per cent.[footnote 64] Participation in the Ropes Program is based on a young person's suitability, as assessed by the police informant. The report, however, found few guidelines to define 'suitability' and notes that referral tends to be discretionary.[footnote 65]

3.5 Right Step

Right Step is a more intensive diversion program than Ropes for young people aged 10–17 who have engaged in more serious offending. It aims to address the causes of offending by partnering the young person with a case manager who designs an individualised plan tailored to an individual's circumstances. These may include:

§ substance abuse;

§ mental illness;

§ family breakdown;

§ housing; and

§ disengagement from education, training or employment.[footnote 66]

The young person has at least one session each week with the case manager for eight weeks. The case manager then provides a report to the magistrate who will dismiss the charges if they decide that the young person has successfully completed the program.[footnote 67] Right Step is not government funded. It receives funding from the philanthropic and community sectors.[footnote 68] It is delivered in the Moorabbin Children's Court, meaning it is only available to young people who reside in the Bayside, Kingston and Glen Eira areas.[footnote 69] Young people living in these areas who are due to appear in the Moorabbin Children's Court must be referred to the program by the police, with the consent of the victim, and must admit to the offence.

3.6 Youth Justice Group Conferencing

Youth Justice Group Conferencing is based on restorative justice principles and aims to balance the needs of young people, victims and the community by encouraging dialogue between young people who have offended, their victims and others affected.[footnote 70] More specifically, the program aims to:

§ develop the young person's understanding of the impact of their offending on the victim, their family and/or significant others and the community;

§ reduce the frequency and seriousness of reoffending by the young person;

§ improve the young person's connection to family/significant others and their integration into the community;

§ negotiate an outcome plan that sets out what the young person will do to make amends for their offending;

§ increase victim satisfaction with the criminal justice process; and

§ divert the young person from a more intensive sentence.[footnote 71]

Group conferencing is available in circumstances where the court is considering imposing probation or a youth supervision order.[footnote 72] A young person must be aged between 10–18 years, plead guilty to the offence and be appearing before the court for the first time to be eligible for group conferencing.[footnote 73] In Victoria, only the court can refer a young person to group conferencing whereas referrals are made by police and courts in all other Australian jurisdictions. Accordingly, the level of youth justice group conferencing in Victoria is particularly low, even accounting for lower levels of youth offending in Victoria.[footnote 74] Government expenditure on group conferencing is correspondingly low.[footnote 75]

Table 1: 2014-15 group conferences

Jurisdiction

No. of group conferences resulting in agreement

Government expenditure on group conferencing

Victoria

228

$1,946,000

New South Wales

1,163

$4,333,000

Queensland

663

$5,273,000

South Australia

1,213

$1,739,000

Western Australia

1,929

$32,812,000

Tasmania

167

$111,000

Australian Capital Territory

112

$830,000

Northern Territory

232

$4,867,000

KPMG (2010) Evaluation of the Ropes Program, prepared for Victoria Police, Melbourne, p. 39.


A 2010 evaluation by KPMG found youth group conferencing was more successful in reducing reoffending than more formal sanctions. Within 12 months of completing group conferencing, 18.6 per cent of young people reoffended, compared to 27.6 per cent of young people who received probation or a Youth Supervision Order.[footnote 76] The distinction was more pronounced 24 months later, with 19.2 per cent of group conferencing participants reoffending compared to 42.9 per cent who received the more formal sanctions.[footnote 77] Despite the success of youth justice group conferencing, it is not available in all areas, to all young offenders.[footnote 78]

The circumstances in which the court can consider deferring sentencing to enable a young person to participate in group conferencing was broadened by amendments to the Act in 2014. Previously, the court could only consider deferral of sentencing for the purposes of group conferencing if a probation order or a youth supervision order were in contemplation. The court can now also consider deferral for group conferencing where a youth attendance order or a period of detention is being considered.[footnote 79]

3.7 Analysis of youth justice diversion in Victoria

Analysis of youth diversion in Victoria suggests it is somewhat ad hoc. As the above overview indicates, there is limited access to diversion programs based on location, types of offending and the age of offenders.

3.7.1 Geographic limitations

The 2013 Youth Justice Remand Bail Strategy acknowledges that '[footnote c]urrently there is significant variation in the availability of diversion options across the state, meaning that a young person's access can be restricted by their location. Programs are often more widely available in metropolitan Melbourne than in regional and rural Victoria.'[footnote 80] As a result, young people in rural and regional Victoria don't have access to the same opportunities to be diverted from the criminal justice system. This inequity in access to diversion programs between rural and regional young people and their metropolitan peers has been described as a form of 'postcode justice'[footnote 81] or 'justice by geography'.[footnote 82] Former President of the Children's Court, Judge Paul Grant, observed that 'the unavailability of diversion for some young Victorians is a significant access to justice issue.'[footnote 83] Further, where diversion programs do exist, their efficacy can be constrained by limited access to community-based interventions, including accommodation services, or mental health and drug and alcohol programs, which are less accessible in rural and regional areas.[footnote 84]

3.7.2 Legislated court-based diversion for young people

Although diversion is at the heart of the youth justice framework, Victoria is the only Australian jurisdiction that does not have a legislative, court-based diversion scheme for children and young people.[footnote 85] The existing diversionary programs rely solely on police discretion. This is in contrast to the adult justice system, in which a magistrate can adjourn proceedings for 12 months to allow an accused to participate in a diversion program and, if successful, avoid court proceedings.[footnote 86] This discrepancy between youth justice and the mainstream criminal justice system has been the subject of criticism, particularly in light of the previously detailed unique circumstances of youth offending.[footnote 87] The Sentencing Advisory Council (SAC) has observed '[footnote i]ronically, given the lesser emphasis on diversion for adult offenders, the situation is far better in the adult system, which has the (legislated and co-ordinated) Criminal Justice Diversion Program available to offenders 18 years and above.'[footnote 88] Inequitable outcomes and net-widening in certain areas can occur in the absence of a comprehensive state-wide diversion program for young people.[footnote 89] Further, '[footnote i]t may also be a missed opportunity in terms of keeping potentially large numbers of low-level young offenders out of the Children's Court.'[footnote 90] It has been observed that the absence of legislated court-based diversion for children and young people jeopardises the principle of custody as a last resort as provided for in the Act.[footnote 91]

3.7.3 State-wide diversion program

A pilot Children's Court diversion program commenced in 2015, operating in four metropolitan courts and three courts in the Grampians region. It operates through court referrals of eligible young people to Jesuit Social Services, the main provider, for in-court assessment.[footnote 92] If a young person is considered to be suitable, recommendations are made to the court about a broad-ranging tailored diversion plan, focusing on links to family, school and community.[footnote 93] The program targets young offenders who acknowledge their offending and who have little or no prior history of offending. As of April 2016, more than 90 per cent of the 270 participants had successfully completed the program.[footnote 94]

In the 2016/17 Victorian Budget, the Andrews Government announced $5.6 million over two years to support the diversion program.[footnote 95] DJR has assumed responsibility for delivering the Children's Court youth diversion service in all Children's Courts across Victoria.

4. Detention

Youth justice in each Australian state and territory is underpinned by the key principles that young people should be detained only as a last resort[footnote 96] and for the shortest appropriate period.[footnote 97] This is reflected in the Act which states that detention may not be imposed if another sanction is appropriate.[footnote 98] It is, however, an available option for the purposes of community protection and offender accountability.[footnote 99]

4.1 Youth justice detention facilities

The Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre accommodates young males aged 15-18 years sentenced to detention in a youth justice centre and the Malmsbury Senior Youth Justice Centre accommodates males aged 18–20 years sentenced to detention in a youth justice centre.[footnote 100] The Parkville Youth Residential Centre accommodates 10-to 14-year-old males and 10–20 year old females held on remand pending a court hearing or sentencing,[footnote 101] and those sentenced to detention in a youth residential centre.[footnote 102] The Melbourne Youth Justice Centre accommodates 15-to 18-year-old males held on remand pending a court hearing or sentencing,[footnote 103] and those sentenced to detention in a youth justice centre.[footnote 104] As previously mentioned, the Grevillea Unit of Barwon Prison was gazetted as a youth justice facility and remand centre in November 2016.

4.2 Purposes of youth justice custodial services

DHHS states that the aims of youth justice custodial services are to ensure:

§ safe and secure youth justice custodial facilities for clients and staff;

§ young people are rehabilitated with reduced likelihood of further offending;

§ factors associated with offending are addressed through evidence-based programs; and

§ complex clients are provided with integrated and well-coordinated services that meet their individual needs.[footnote 105]

4.3 Rights of young people in detention

Young people detained in remand centres, youth residential centres and youth justice centres have the following rights in accordance with Section 482 of the Act:

(a) to have their development needs catered for;

(b) to receive visits from parents, relatives, legal practitioners and other persons;

(c) to reasonable efforts made to meet their medical, religious and cultural needs, including, in the case of Aboriginal children, their needs as members of the Aboriginal community;

(d) to receive information on the rules of the centre in which they are detained;

(e) to complain to the Secretary or the Ombudsman about the standard of care, accommodation or treatment; and

(f) to be advised of their entitlements under this sub-section.


The Act prohibits certain actions in relation to a young person in detention, including:

(a) the use of isolation as punishment;

(b) the use of physical force unless it is reasonable and necessary, or unless otherwise authorised;

(c) the administering of corporal punishment;

(d) the use of any form of psychological pressure intended to intimidate or humiliate;

(e) the use of physical or emotional abuse; and

(f) the adoption of any kind of discriminatory treatment.[footnote 106]


Section 488 prohibits the isolation of a young person in detention unless:

(a) all other reasonable steps have been taken to prevent them from harming himself/herself or any other person, or from damaging property; or

(b) the person's behaviour presents an immediate threat to his/her safety, the safety of any other person or to property.[footnote 107]


The period of isolation must also be approved by the Secretary.[footnote 108] All isolation must be recorded in a dedicated isolation register.[footnote 109]

Further discussion on young people in detention can be found in section 8.

5. Trends in youth justice

5.1 Number of young offenders

The 2016 Sentencing Advisory Council Data Update Report notes that between 2010 and 2015, the number of children sentenced in the Children's Court of Victoria decreased by approximately 43 per cent.[footnote 110]

Figure 1: Number of sentenced young offenders between 2008-09 and 2014-15

Stewart, F., Z. Bathy & G. Fisher (2016) 'Reoffending by children and young people in Victoria', Sentencing Advisory Council,
Melbourne, p. 16

The number of young offenders aged below 18 years processed by police has also steadily decreased from 35,956 young people in 2008-09 to 25,956 in 2012-13.[footnote 111] These figures correspond with a Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) analysis of age-specific trends of young offenders which found a 37 per cent decrease in the number of alleged offenders aged 10 to 14 years from 2006-10 to 2011-15.[footnote 112]

Figure 2: Number of cases sentenced in the Children's Court by year, 2010 to 2015

Ritchie, D. & N. Hudson (2016) 'Sentencing children in Victoria: Data update report', Sentencing Advisory Council, Melbourne, p. 12

5.2 Average number of charges

The number of offences committed per offender, however, increased from a consistent average of around 4.5 charges per case for years 2010 to 2013 to an average of 5.2 charges per case in 2014, and 6.4 charges per case in 2015.[footnote 113] Again, this figure corresponds with the CSA analysis, which found that the number of offences per offender aged 10 to 14 years increased from 3.8 from 2006-10 to 5.4 in 2011-15,[footnote 114] averaged over four years.

In 2013, the Napthine Government amended the Bail Act 1977 (Vic), creating an offence for an accused to contravene conditions of bail.[footnote 115] This applied equally to children and young people, and adults. The SAC suggests that a significant proportion of the increase in charges from 2013 to 2015 is attributable to the new bail-related offences of contravening a conduct condition of bail and committing an indictable offence whilst on bail.[footnote 116] This is supported by the data that shows the total number of charges sentenced in the Children's Court in 2015, including bail-related offences, was 21,236 and 18,559 excluding bail-related offences. This is less than the total number of charges sentenced in the Children's Court in 2013, which was 18,817.[footnote 117] A 2016 amendment by the Andrews Government exempted children from the breach of bail condition offence,[footnote 118] however, the offence of committing an indictable offence whilst on bail remains in place.

5.3 Proportion of offences committed by young offenders

The proportion of incidents committed by offenders under the age of 25 has fallen since 2007-08 from 52 per cent of all recorded incidents to 40 per cent of all incidents in 2015–16.[footnote 119] The CSA notes that the decline was most notable in the 10-to 14-year-old and 15-to 19-year-olds, with the proportion of offences accounted for by these groups decreasing from 13 per cent to 6 per cent and from 24 per cent to 16 per cent respectively.[footnote 120] There was a corresponding increase in the proportion of offences by those aged 25 or older, from 48 to 60 per cent over the same period.[footnote 121]

The following figure illustrates the breakdown of offences committed by young offenders as a proportion of overall offences committed. It shows both a decrease in the proportion of incidents committed by young offenders and an increase in the proportion committed by offenders aged 25 or older.

Figure 3: Proportion of incidents recorded by offender age group

M. Millsteed & P. Sutherland (2016) 'How has Youth Crime in Victoria Changed over the Past 10 Years?,' Crime Statistics Agency, Number 3, p. 1.


Proportion of offenders that are children

Only 12 per cent of offenders in the year to September 2016 were between 10–17 years of age and more than half of all offenders were aged 18–34.[footnote 122] Of Victoria's 10 –17 year olds in 2015, less than 1 per cent were sentenced for criminal offences and the number of children and young people sentenced has declined each year since 2008–09.[footnote 123]

Figure 4: Annual number of unique offenders aged under 25 and 25 and over, from 2006 to 2015

P. Sutherland & M. Millsteed (2016) 'Downward Trend in the Number of Young Offenders, 2006 to 2015', Crime Statistics Agency, Number 1, p. 1


Figure 5: Number of alleged offenders by age group, year ending 31 December 2016

Crime Statistics Agency (2017) 'Alleged offender incidents data tables: January to December 2016', CSA, Melbourne.

Figure 6: Alleged offender incidents by age group

Crime Statistics Agency (2017) 'Alleged offender incidents data tables: January to December 2016', CSA, Melbourne.


Figure 7: Alleged offender incidents by age and offence categories, year end December 2016

Crime Statistics Agency (2017) 'Alleged offender incidents data tables: January to December 2016', CSA, Melbourne.

Figure 8: Proportion of young offenders aged 1024 recorded for one or more of each crime type

Millsteed, M. & P. Sutherland (2016) 'How has Youth Crime in Victoria Changed over the Past 10 Years?', Crime Statistics Agency, Number 3, p. 5.

 

As the report observes, the fall in the proportion of offenders who recorded at least one property and deception offence is mainly due to a significant decrease in those recorded for theft. In 2007–08 43.6 per cent of all young offenders were recorded for at least one theft offence. This dropped to 31.0 per cent by 2015–2016.[footnote 124]

Criminal damage offences accounted for 19.6 per cent in 2007–08, decreasing to 16.8 per cent in 2011-12, and increasing again to 19.4 per cent in 2015-16. The report highlights a significant increase in assault and related offences, with 22.4 per cent in 2007–08 and 27.8 per cent in 2015–16 contributing to the overall increase in crimes against the person.[footnote 125]

The increase in justice procedures offences from 2011–12 to 2015–16 corresponds with the link identified by the SAC between the increase in the average number of charges per young offender and the changes to the Bail Act 1977 (Vic), as discussed above.

5.4 Categories of offenders

The CSA conducted research in 2016 across the first eight years of young offenders born between April 1996 and March 1998 and identified four groups of offenders:

· Low – those with a very low level of offending across all ages, with an average of 2.2 offences

· Adolescent limited – those who offend early and whose offending declines after 15

· Late developing – those who start offending after 15 and whose offending then rapidly increases

· High – those whose offending increases rapidly from 12 years of age with an average of 76.5 offences.[footnote 126]


As the table below illustrates, the 1.6 per cent of offenders who were high offending, or 182 young people, accounted for 23.6 per cent of all 13,914 offences recorded across an eight-year period.[footnote 127] The CSA observes that this equates to an average of 76.5 offences per individual offender in the high group from the time of their tenth birthday through to their last day as a 17-year-old.[footnote 128]

This corresponds with the consensus in research that a small proportion of chronic offenders are responsible for a disproportionately large amount of crime.[footnote 129] A 2016 SAC report examining offending patterns for young people sentenced in the Children's Court of Victoria found that offenders who were first sentenced at an earlier age tended to have higher reoffending rates than those first sentenced at a later age.[footnote 130] Children sentenced to youth detention before they are 10–12 years old reoffend at a rate of 86 per cent, more than double the rate of those first sentenced at 19–20 years old, which is 33 per cent.[footnote 131]

Further, the younger a child is at first sentence, the more likely they are to reoffend and to reoffend violently, and to be imprisoned in an adult prison before their 22nd birthday.[footnote 132] After accounting for the effect of other factors, each additional year in age at entry into the criminal courts was associated with an 18 per cent decline in the likelihood of reoffending.[footnote 133]

Table 2: Number and proportion of offenders, incidents and offences by offender group

Offender group

Number of offenders

Number of incidents

Number of offences

Average number
of offences

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

Low

10,240

88.7%

16,636

41.9%

22,113

37.5%

2.2

Adolescent limited

737

6.4%

8,671

21.9%

13,688

23.2%

18.6

Late developing

388

3.4%

5,666

14.3%

9,203

15.6%

23.7

High

182

1.6%

8,707

21.9%

13,914

23.6%

76.5


P. Sutherland & M. Millsteed (2016) 'Patterns of Recorded Offending Behaviour Amongst Young Victorians', Crime Statistics Agency, Number 6, p. 8.

Table 3: Number and proportion of offences by offence type and offender group

Offender group

Crimes against the person

Property and deception offences

Drug offences

Public order and security offences

Justice procedures offences

Other offences

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

Low

4,735

21.4%

13,124

59.4%

1,095

5.0%

1,973

8.9%

671

3.0%

515

2.3%

Adolescent limited

3,188

23.3%

8,137

59.5%

326

2.4%

1,102

8.1%

800

5.8%

135

1.0%

Late developing

1,931

21.0%

5,447

59.2%

267

2.9%

665

7.2%

843

9.2%

50

0.5%

High

2,445

17.6%

9,363

67.3%

257

1.9%

813

5.8%

920

6.6%

116

0.8%

F. Stewart, et al. (2016) 'Reoffending by children and young people in Victoria', Sentencing Advisory Council, Melbourne, p. 10.

5.5 Characteristics of young offenders

The current youth justice policy states:

Juvenile crime is not just a legal problem, it is also a social problem with social causes and effects. Socioeconomic disadvantage, poor educational attainment, family breakdown, sexual abuse and violence, family drug abuse, unemployment and a history of failures – their own, their family's and their support systems – all increase the likelihood of young people offending.[footnote 134]

Research consistently identifies a number of risk factors associated with juvenile offending. The following table illustrates the risk factors and protective factors associated with youth offending.

Table 4: Risk and protective factors associated with youth offending

 

Risk factors

Protective factors

Community

· Poverty

· Low neighbourhood attachment and community disorganisation

· Availability of drugs

· Culture of cooperation

· Stability and connectedness

· Good relationships with adults outside family

· Opportunities for meaningful contribution

School

· Academic failure

· Poor relationships in school

· Early and persistent antisocial behaviour and bullying

· Low parental interest in children

· A sense of belonging

· Positive achievements

· Attendance at preschool

Family

· History of problematic alcohol and drug use

· Family conflict

· Alcohol and drugs interfering with family rituals

· Harsh/coercive or inconsistent parenting

· Marital instability or conflict

· Favourable parental attitudes towards risk-taking behaviour

· Connectedness to family

· Feeling loved and respected

· Proactive problem-solving and minimal conflict during infancy

· Maintenance of family rituals

· Warm relationship with at least one parent

· Absence of divorce during adolescence

Individual/peer

· Alienation, rebelliousness, hyperactivity, aggression, novelty seeking

· Seeing peers taking drugs

· Friends engaging in problem behaviour

· Favourable attitude toward problem behaviour

· Early initiation in problem behaviour

· Temperament/activity level, social responsivity, autonomy

· Development of special talents, hobbies and enthusiasm for life

· Work success during adolescence

A. McAtamney & A. Morgan (2009) 'Key issues in antisocial behaviour', Australian Institute of Criminology, Summary Paper No. 5, Canberra, p. 4.

The cumulative effect of multiple risk factors has a snowball effect, with subsequent risk factors exacerbating existing problems. The more risk factors, the greater the probability that a young person will engage in antisocial or criminal behaviour.[footnote 135]

The significance of these risk factors is illustrated in the results of a Department of Health and Human Services snapshot survey of 167 males and nine females detained on sentence and remand. The survey found that:

§ 45 per cent had been subject to a previous child protection order;

§ 19 per cent were subject to a current protection order;

§ 63 per cent were victims of abuse, trauma or neglect;

§ 62 per cent had previously been suspended or expelled from school;

§ 30 per cent presented with mental health issues;

§ 18 per cent had a history of self-harm or suicidal ideation;

§ 24 per cent presented with issues concerning their intellectual function;

§ 11 per cent were registered with Disability Services;

§ 10 per cent had a history of alcohol misuse;

§ 16 per cent had a history of drug misuse;

§ 66 per cent had a history of both alcohol and drug misuse;

§ 12 per cent had offended while under the influence of alcohol but not drugs;

§ 20 per cent had offended while under the influence of drugs but not alcohol;

§ 58 per cent had offended while under the influence of both alcohol and drugs;

§ 12 per cent were parents;

§ 38 per cent had a family history of parental or sibling imprisonment;

§ 12 per cent spoke English as a second language; and

§ 10 per cent were homeless with no fixed address or residing in insecure housing prior to custody.[footnote 136]

5.5.1 Child protection

The finding that 64 per cent of young offenders have been or are in child protection and 63 per cent were victims of abuse, trauma or neglect highlights the problematic pathways between child protection and youth justice supervision. It is consistent with research that shows children and young people who have been abused or neglected are at greater risk of engaging in criminal activity.[footnote 137] An AIHW report found that young people in the child protection system were 14 times as likely as the general population to be under youth justice supervision in the same year.[footnote 138] Young people under youth justice supervision were 15 times as likely as the general population to be in the child protection system in the same year.[footnote 139] Further, the younger someone was at their first youth justice supervision, the more likely they were to also be in child protection.[footnote 140]

5.5.2 Socioeconomic disadvantage

Research indicates a strong correlation between socioeconomic status and the probability of youth offending. Criminologists Rob White and Chris Cunneen have observed that a young person from a low-income background living in a high crime rate area is far more likely to engage in offending behaviour than the same person living in a low crime neighbourhood.[footnote 141] Almost one-third (32 per cent) of young people under supervision on an average day were from the lowest socioeconomic areas based on postcode of last address.[footnote 142] Young people aged 10–17 from the lowest socioeconomic areas were about 6 times as likely to be under supervision as those from the highest socioeconomic areas.[footnote 143] A 2010 report also found that 25 per cent of children on youth justice orders in 2010 came from only 2.6 per cent of postcodes.[footnote 144]

A report by Director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research analysing the relationship between socioeconomic disadvantage, child neglect/abuse and youth offending made the following conclusions:

§ postcode areas with high levels of poverty tended to have significantly higher levels of parenting deficiency such as child neglect;

§ there is a strong relationship between the level of child neglect/abuse in a postcode area and the level of youth participation in crime in that area;

§ economic and social stress exert most of their effects on crime, at least in urban areas, by increasing the risk of child neglect; and

§ young people rendered susceptible to involvement in crime by poor parenting are more likely to become involved in crime if they reside in 'offender-prone' neighbourhoods.[footnote 145]

5.5.3 Implications of characteristics of young offenders

The youth just policy acknowledges the distinct correlation between the risk factors identified in the DHHS survey of young people in detention and youth offending:

Juvenile crime is not just a legal problem, it is also a social problem with social causes and effects. Socio-economic disadvantage, poor educational attainment, family breakdown, sexual abuse and violence, family drug abuse, unemployment and a history of failures – their own, their family's and their support systems – all increase the likelihood of young people offending.[footnote 146]

The DHHS observes '[footnote t]he youth justice system cannot address youth crime in isolation from other systems such as welfare, drug and alcohol, disability, housing, mental health, education and employment.'[footnote 147] Accordingly, it provides a range of services to address the underlying causes of youth offending through the Youth Justice Community Support Service (YJCSS).

The YJCSS aims to:

§ reduce the severity, frequency and rates of reoffending and minimise progression into the criminal justice system;

§ facilitate the transition from the youth justice system to local community services;

§ prepare clients for adulthood by developing their independence, resilience and connectedness to family and community; and

§ develop the capacity of young people for meaningful educational and economic participation.[footnote 148]

It provides a single intake point for a range of services to meet the needs of clients referred via the regional Youth Justice Unit. The service includes:

§ intensive case management support to assist young people to connect to family, education, training, employment and community;

§ integrated access and supported referrals to a range of services including drug and alcohol, mental health and health services, housing, education, training, culturally and linguistically diverse and Indigenous-specific services; and

§ transitional housing and support, including assistance and housing outreach support for clients who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, to maintain stable accommodation and enhance capacity for independent living.[footnote 149]

Services are provided by a consortium including Jesuit Social Services, Youth Support + Advocacy Service, Salvocare East, VincentCare, Wombat and VICSEG, together with DHHS.[footnote 150]

6. Indigenous youth justice

The landmark 1991 federal Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody found that the social, economic and cultural disadvantage faced by Indigenous Australians was at the heart of over-representation in the criminal justice system, particularly of Indigenous youth.[footnote 151] Indigenous offending, the Royal Commission found, could not be separated from a history of violent dispossession, the forced removal of children from their families during the Stolen Generation, assimilation and dislocation from culture and community. The impact of institutional racism in criminal justice processes, including policing, court hearings and sentencing were found to compound the situation.

In 2005, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) commissioned a report into systemic racism in the Victorian criminal justice system and over-representation by leading criminologists. The report observed that:

The ongoing over-representation of Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice system cannot be accounted for solely in terms of the prejudices of individuals within the system, or greater levels of offending by Indigenous people – although these may play an accompanying role. They are, rather, a reflection of the multiply layered patterns of disadvantage and extreme forms of marginalisation experienced by Aboriginal people.[footnote 152]

Analysis of over-representation of Indigenous youth in Victoria's criminal justice system supports this conclusion.

6.1 Over-representation in the criminal justice system

Indigenous over-representation in prison populations is a systemic problem in all Australian jurisdictions. Victoria is no exception. Indigenous young people constitute only 2 per cent of the Victoria's population aged 10–17 but in 2014–15 they were around 15 per cent of those aged 10–17 under supervision on an average day.[footnote 153] The rate of Indigenous young people aged 10–17 under supervision on an average day was 137 per 10,000 compared with 12 per 10,000 for non-Indigenous young people. As the AIHW observes, this means that an Indigenous young person in Victoria is 11 times as likely as a non-Indigenous young person to be under youth justice supervision.[footnote 154] This is lower than the national level in which an Indigenous young person is 15 times as likely to be under youth justice supervision than a non-Indigenous young person.[footnote 155]

Between June 2006 and June 2016, the growth rate in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners more than doubled the number of non-Indigenous prisoners (up 147 per cent and 62 per cent respectively),[footnote 156] according to the SAC. The significance of this statistic is questionable, however, due to the small size of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Victoria, meaning that small changes in the number of prisoners will have a large effect on the imprisonment rate.[footnote 157] The AIHW supports this qualification, noting that rate ratios 'should be interpreted with caution where there are small denominators.'[footnote 158]

Over-representation, nonetheless, remains an ongoing, complex problem. The Youth Parole Board has stated that it 'remains concerned about the continued overrepresentation of Aboriginal young people in custody, particularly the increase of young Aboriginal people receiving custodial orders in the Children's Court.'[footnote 159]

6.2 Underlying causes of over-representation

Numerous comprehensive investigations have examined the underlying causes of over-representation of young Indigenous people in the criminal justice system. Given the complexity and intersections in these underlying causes, this paper does not analyse these issues but rather mentions them for the purposes of context. Some important and specific factors necessary to explain Aboriginal over-representation, according to the 2005 VEOHRC report, include:

§ offending patterns (especially over-representation in offences likely to lead to imprisonment such as serious assaults, sexual assaults and property offences);

§ the impact of policing (in particular the adverse use of police discretion);

§ legislation (especially the impact of laws which may give rise to direct and indirect discrimination such as criminal laws and local government laws which regulate the use of public space);

§ factors in judicial decision-making (in particular, bail conditions, the weight given to prior record, the availability of non-custodial options);

§ policy and practice which is neutral on the surface, but has a different impact on Indigenous people (for example, bail conditions, access to diversionary schemes);

§ environmental and locational factors (especially the social and economic effects of living in small rural communities);

§ cultural difference (such as different child-rearing practices, the use of Aboriginal English, vulnerability during police interrogation);

§ socio-economic factors (in particular, high levels of unemployment, poverty, lower educational attainment, poor housing, poor health);

§ marginalisation (in particular, drug, alcohol and other substance abuse; alienation from family and community)

§ resistance (some offences may be responses and resistances to non-Indigenous institutions and authorities; and

§ the impact of specific colonial policies (especially the forced removal of Indigenous children of the Stolen Generation).[footnote 160]

6.3 Recidivism and age of first offence

The fact that Indigenous offenders are more likely to begin offending at a younger age than their non-Indigenous peers compounds the problem of over-representation.[footnote 161] First contact with the criminal justice system for Indigenous offenders occurs at age 14, on average, compared to age 19 for non-Indigenous offenders.[footnote 162] As previously mentioned, the younger the first age of contact with the criminal justice system is, the more likely it is that reoffending will occur. A 2001 study by the Department of Human Services found that the recidivism rate for Indigenous young offenders was 65 per cent, compared with 47 per cent for non-Indigenous young offenders.[footnote 163] Corresponding findings have been made in other Australian jurisdictions. A Queensland study found that 86 per cent of the Indigenous young people progressed from the youth justice system to the adult correctional system, compared to 75 per cent of non-Indigenous young people.[footnote 164] Similarly, a NSW study reported that the court reappearance rate for Indigenous young people is about 187 per cent higher than that of non-Indigenous young people.[footnote 165] The study also noted that '[footnote t]he odds of an Indigenous juvenile defendant appearing in an adult court within eight years of his or her first court appearance are more than nine times higher than those for a non-Indigenous defendant.'[footnote 166]

6.4 The Aboriginal Justice Agreement

The Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement (the Agreement) was developed in response to the crisis of over-representation and the underlying issues highlighted by the Royal Commission.[footnote 167] A joint initiative of the Department of Justice, the Department of Human Services, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee, the Agreement aims to:

§ address the ongoing issue of Aboriginal over-representation within all levels of the criminal justice system;

§ improve Aboriginal access to justice-related services; and

§ promote greater awareness in the Aboriginal community of their civil, legal and political rights.[footnote 168]

To achieve these goals, the Agreement acknowledges that the relationship between Aboriginal communities and all levels of the justice system must change and that '[footnote t]his change can only occur when justice agencies and the Aboriginal community work together.'[footnote 169] The purpose of the Agreement's reforms are to:

§ create a shared vision and agreed priorities for action within government and community sectors;

§ establish appropriate systems for monitoring Aboriginal outcomes;

§ develop stronger and more sustainable approaches to tackling the many issues associated with over-representation of Aboriginal people in the justice system;

§ empower local communities to become involved in policy, planning and service delivery;

§ reduce duplication in service delivery and target effort and resources more effectively;

§ share ideas and expertise; and

§ increase accountability and transparency in decision making.[footnote 170]

The Agreement is in its third phase and is now focusing on reducing reoffending and addressing drivers such as alcohol and drugs, mental health, unstable housing and unemployment through offender rehabilitation and behaviour programs, transition support and continuity of care.[footnote 171]

6.5 Indigenous youth justice services

Several programs and initiatives have been established to divert young people from the youth justice system and to prevent reoffending.

6.5.1 Koori Youth Justice Program

The Koori Youth Justice Program, developed in 1992 in response to the findings of the Royal Commission,[footnote 172] provides early intervention services, targeting young people at risk of offending and people on community-based and custodial orders. It provides access for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders to role models and culturally sensitive support, advocacy and casework through Koori youth justice workers. The program is operated in the community, mainly by local Aboriginal community controlled-organisations.

6.5.2 Children's Koori Court

The Children's Koori Court of Victoria began operating in October 2005 as a two-year pilot and has since received ongoing funding. The key objectives of the Children's Koori Court are to reduce the over-representation of Koori youth in Victoria's youth justice system and to increase community ownership of the administration of the law.[footnote 173] The Children's Koori Court exercises jurisdiction over defendants who are descended from, identify as or are accepted as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.[footnote 174] The defendant must intend to plead guilty or have been found guilty in a mainstream Children's Court.[footnote 175] Koori Elders or Respected Persons provide the court with advice relating to cultural matters to ensure more culturally relevant and inclusive sentencing for young Indigenous people charged with offences.[footnote 176]

A 2010 evaluation of the Children's Koori Court found that failure to appear and court order breaches were very low and that it fostered positive participation by Koori youth, their families and their community, and increased the accountability of the Koori community for Koori youth.[footnote 177] It also fostered increased community awareness of Indigenous and community codes of conduct and standards of behaviour.[footnote 178]

6.5.3 Koori Intensive Support Program

The Koori Intensive Support Program (KISP) provides intensive outreach support to Aboriginal young people on youth justice orders as well as those on bail, deferred sentences and those reintegrating with their community after release from custody.[footnote 179] Koori youth justice workers within communities also assist Aboriginal young people who are at risk of engaging with the criminal justice system, or are subject to youth justice orders in the community, to comply with their order and engage in their local and cultural communities.[footnote 180]

The Koori Early School Leavers and Youth Employment Program aims to prevent contact with the justice system by engaging young Aboriginal people (aged 10–20 years) with school or alternative educational, vocational or employment pathways to counteract disconnection or poor connection to school, training or work.[footnote 181]

7. Statistics

Victoria is widely recognised as a leader in youth justice, with consistently low levels of youth crime and young offenders.[footnote 182] 'Victoria has always had, and still has, one of the lowest youth offending rates in the country', the CCYP has noted.[footnote 183]

This is illustrated in the following series of tables sourced from the Productivity Commission's 2015 Report on Government Services and the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare's Youth justice in Australia: 201415. The tables compare the following indicators of youth justice in Victoria with all Australia states and territories:

a. numbers and rates of young people under supervision

b. expenditure on youth justice services

c. the cost per young person for detention and community-based supervision.

7.1 Young people under supervision

Table 5: Number of young people under supervision on an average day

Year

Vic

NSW

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

ACT

NT

2011–12

1,485

1,947

1,468

N/A

441

290

127

N/A

2012–13

1,312

1,700

1,475

N/A

410

256

111

N/A

2013–14

1210

1584

1572

850

421

201

89

174

2014–15

1155

1,436

1,524

754

357

148

82

174

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2015) 'Youth justice in Australia 2014-15', op. cit., p. 5.

Table 6: Rates of young people under supervision on an average day, per 10,000

Year

Vic

NSW

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

ACT

NT

National average

2011–12

18.7

25.5

28.1

N/A

23.3

40.0

32.7

N/A

28.05

2012–13

16.1

22.2

28.0

N/A

21.2

35.3

27.7

N/A

25.1

2013–14

14.0

20.8

30.3

32.3

21.7

27.2

22.5

61.2

23.1

2014–15

14.4

18.8

29.2

28.5

18.4

20.6

21.9

54.1

21.5

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2015) 'Youth justice in Australia 2014-15', op. cit., p. 6.

7.2 Expenditure on youth services

Table 7: Real recurrent expenditure on youth justice services ($'000)

Year

Vic

NSW

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

ACT

NT

2011–12

$69,607

$158,028

$72,001

$50,627

$17,444

$12,982

$16,858

$10,489

2012–13

$70,951

$151,295

$78,956

$47,660

$21,276

$14,122

$16,778

$12,912

2013–14

$68,834

$150,774

$84,841

$47,619

$21,413

$13,968

$17,683

$10,950

2014–15

$75,016

$156,190

$89,208

$50,570

$20,916

$13,389

$17,923

$14,976

Productivity Commission (2016) Report on Government Services 2014-15: Youth Justice, Productivity Commission, Canberra, Table 16A.1.


Table 8: Total expenditure on community-based youth justice services ($'000)

Year

Vic

NSW

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

ACT

NT

2011–12

$45,774

$60,780

$49,091

$22,323

$11,936

$3,436

$2,407

$5,102

2012–13

$47,030

$56,263

$58,927

$22,199

$12,394

$4,209

$2,344

$3,290

2013–14

$46,584

$57,418

$64,326

$23,211

$10,695

$4,257

$2,721

$3,516

2014–15

$45,747

$57,924

$64,035

$19,515

$9,852

$4,022

$2,892

$3,502

Productivity Commission (2016) Report on Government Services 2014-15: Youth Justice, Productivity Commission, Canberra, Table 16A.1.

Table 9: Government expenditure on group conferencing ($'000)

Year

Vic

NSW

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

ACT

NT

2011–12

$1,857

$6,558

$12,680

$32,602

N/A

$219

$725

N/A

2012–13

$1,866

$5,796

$10,833

$33,566

$1,784

$179

$767

$6,300

2013–14

$1,884

$5,709

$5,692

$35,005

$1,906

$146

$642

$4,881

2014–15

$1,946

$4,333

$5273

$32,812

$1,739

$111

$830

$4,867

Productivity Commission (2016) Report on Government Services 2014-15: Youth Justice, Productivity Commission, Canberra, Table 16A.1

Table 10: Total government expenditure on youth justice ($'000)

Year

Vic

NSW

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

ACT

NT

2011–12

$117,238

$225,365

$133772

$105,551

$29,380

$16,637

$19,991

$15,591

2012–13

$119,847

$213,354

$148,717

$103,425

$35,454

$18,511

$19,989

$22,503

2013–14

$117,302

$213,901

$154,859

$105,835

$34,014

$18,372

$21,047

$19,347

2014–15

$122,709

$218,447

$158,515

$102,897

$32,507

$17,522

$21,646

$23,345

Productivity Commission (2016) Report on Government Services 2014-15: Youth Justice, Productivity Commission, Canberra, Table 16A.1

 

7.3 The cost of detention-based and community-based supervision per young person

Table 11: The cost per young person subject to detention-based supervision ($'000)

2014-15

Vic

NSW

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

ACT

NT

Average daily number of young people subject to detention-based supervision

$142.0

$286.0

$169.0

$156.2

$48.0

$10.3

$9.0

$42

Total recurrent expenditure on detention-based supervision ($'000)

$75,016

$156,190

$89,208

$50,570

$20,916

$13,389

$17,923

$14,976

Cost per day, per young person subject to detention-based supervision on an average day

$1,446.36

$1,495.19

$886.61

$886.61

$1193.01

$3,562.44

$5,452.39

$976.21

Productivity Commission (2016) Report on Government Services 2014-15: Youth Justice, Productivity Commission, Canberra, Table 16A.24

Table 12: The cost per young person subject to community-based supervision ($'000)

2014-15

Vic

NSW

Qld

WA

SA

Tas

ACT

NT

Average daily number of young people subject to community-based supervision

1,026.0

1290.0

1,393.0

635.3

332.0

142.5

73.0

148.0

Total recurrent expenditure on community-based supervision

$45,747

$57,924

$64,035

$19,515

$9,852

$4,022

$2,892

$3,502

Cost per day, per young person subject to community-based supervision on an average day

$122.07

$122.94

$125.86

$84.11

$81.24

$77.27

$108.47

$64.78

Productivity Commission (2016) Report on Government Services 2014-15: Youth Justice, Productivity Commission, Canberra, Table 16A.23

 

7.4 Workforce data

The following youth justice workforce data has been compiled from the DHHS annual reports.

Figure 9: Youth justice workforce data from 2011 to 2016

Compiled by the Parliamentary Library Service

8. Youth justice centre inquiries and reviews

A number of investigations by independent officers and inquiries and reviews by consultants on behalf of DHHS have examined conditions in youth justice centres and the treatment of young people held therein.

8.1 Investigations into youth justice centres

The problematic history of Victoria's youth justice centres is detailed in three reports by the Victorian Ombudsman relating to youth justice facilities, and incidents therein, since 2010. The most recent investigation, by the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) examines the use of isolation, separation and lockdowns in the Victorian youth justice system.

8.1.1 2010 Investigation into conditions at the Melbourne Youth Justice Precinct

The Victorian Ombudsman undertook an investigation of the Youth Justice Precinct at Parkville in 2010 in response to claims of serious misconduct by a whistleblower. The subsequent report was highly critical, concluding, '[footnote i]t is clear from the unacceptable conditions that the department has failed to meet its statutory obligations under the Act and human rights principles. In my view, this brings into question the capacity of the department to operate youth justice services.'[footnote 184]

Among the conditions found to be unacceptable were:

§ hanging points throughout the precinct;

§ an open front to the precinct, allowing persons to easily enter precinct grounds;[footnote 185]

§ a high prevalence of communicable infections such as scabies and school sores;

§ electrical hazards;

§ overcrowding resulting in mattresses being placed in isolation rooms with young people having to go to the toilet in buckets;

§ inadequate beds for the number of remanded or sentenced detainees, causing an undesirable mixing of detainees of widely varying ages and different legal status; and

§ remanded detainees being placed in units with sentenced offenders.[footnote 186]

Placement of detainees of widely varying ages and different custodial status in the same unit amounted to a breach of section 482(1)(c–d) of the Act and the Charter, in particular section s22(2), s22(3), s23(1) and 23(3), according to the report.[footnote 187] These arrangements, the Ombudsman observed, 'create a situation in which younger detainees could be bullied or negatively influenced. Placing detainees of different ages, maturity levels and history of offending does not promote a rehabilitative environment or meet the needs of detainees.'[footnote 188]

The report established that there had been inadequate responses to allegations of improper conduct, including that staff incited fights between detainees, assaulted detainees, used excessive force against detainees and introduced contraband to the precinct.[footnote 189] The Ombudsman noted that failure to address improper conduct, particularly where it impacts on the health and safety of detainees, 'contravenes the department's statutory obligations and human rights provisions.'[footnote 190]

The Ombudsman concluded that the design and location of the precinct is inappropriate for a custodial facility which houses vulnerable children and that the structural problems are beyond simple maintenance and repair.[footnote 191] Consequently, it was observed that 'the only practical way to address the conditions at the Precinct in the long-term is to develop a new facility at another site.'[footnote 192] The Department accepted all 27 recommendations,[footnote 193] and a 2013 report on the implementation of Ombudsman's recommendations found that all recommendations had been implemented.[footnote 194]

8.1.2 2013 Investigation into transfers of children from the youth justice system to the adult prison system

In July 2012, four young people attempted to escape the Precinct and, in the process, a staff member was assaulted and required stitches after being cut several times on the neck with a makeshift weapon.[footnote 195] In August 2012, two young people were involved in a violent assault at Parkville Youth Justice Centre that resulted in two staff members requiring hospitalisation and another staff member requiring medical treatment.[footnote 196] The Victorian Ombudsman investigated the subsequent transfer of young people involved in these incidents to the adult prison system in response to information that a 16-year-old had been held in solitary confinement for several months.[footnote 197]

Ombudsman George Brouwer found that the young people were locked in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for a number of months and observed that DHHS had failed to:

§ consider a number of rights under the Charter;

§ document the consideration of alternative placement options within youth justice;

§ consult with the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, Child Protection or the children's legal representatives;

§ provide relevant information such as mental health history to the Youth Parole Board; and

§ follow up the transfer with Corrections Victoria to ensure the placement of the children was appropriate.[footnote 198]

'In placing these children in isolation for a number of months, Corrections Victoria acted inconsistently with the children's rights under sections 17(2), 22(1) and 22(3) of the Charter,'[footnote 199] the Ombudsman found. Further, the Ombudsman expressed concern about the placement of children in isolation in terms of international human rights, noting 'that international human rights principles identify that the use of solitary confinement may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Where detainees are children, the likelihood of solitary confinement constituting such treatment is significantly increased.'[footnote 200] The investigation also found that accused children were not segregated from all detained adults, contrary to section 23(1) of the Charter.[footnote 201]

In conclusion, Ombudsman Brouwer noted:

It is evident that the youth justice system is limited in its capacity to deal with a small, but increasing, cohort of young people exhibiting violent behaviour. It is important that the youth justice system respond appropriately to these children rather than abrogate its responsibility by transferring them to the adult system. I am of the view that there are no circumstances that justify the placement of a child in the adult prison system.[footnote 202]

8.1.3 2017 Report on youth justice facilities at the Grevillea unit of Barwon Prison, Malmsbury and Parkville

Riots at the Parkville Youth Justice Centre in November 2016 caused an estimated $2 million in damage and halved the centre's accommodation capacity from 120 beds to 60.[footnote 203] The Victorian Ombudsman's 2017 report examines the response to recent events by oversight agencies to the pressures placed on youth justice detention in Victoria due to the riots.

In response to the riots, the Andrews Government announced it would expedite the planned rebuild of the centre, which was deemed no longer fit for purpose, requiring the transfer of young people to other facilities.[footnote 204] Minister for Corrections, Gayle Tierney, announced that around 40 young offenders would be transferred to the Grevillea Youth Justice Centre, a newly gazetted youth justice unit in Barwon Prison, a maximum security adult correctional facility, on 17 November 2016.[footnote 205]

Legal proceedings

The Human Rights Law Centre and the Fitzroy Legal Service challenged the transfer of young people to an adult facility, arguing that the decision failed to give proper consideration to the human rights of the young people in question and that it was, consequently, invalid. The Supreme Court of Victoria upheld the challenge and the Court of Appeal dismissed the Minister's subsequent appeal. The Government regazetted Barwon Jail as a youth detention facility, claiming that the issues that led to the Court's declaration of invalidity had been rectified.[footnote 206]

Conditions in youth justice facilities

Given the intersections between the work of the Victorian Ombudsman, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) and the CCYP, the CCYP took the lead in relation to issues arising from the government's response to the riots at Parkville. Accordingly, the Ombudsman's report draws on correspondence between Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan and Commissioner for Aboriginal Children Andrew Jackomos with the Hon. Jenny Mikakos MLC, Minister for Families and Children.

This correspondence raises several concerns about the detention of young people in the Grevillea Unit of Barwon Prison, including that young people:

§ were spending only one or two hours per day out of their cells

§ did not have access to fresh air or the unit's exercise yard;

§ had insufficient bedding and clothing to keep warm;

§ were not provided with clean clothing on a daily basis;

§ could not have visits with families;

§ had not been provided access to educational activities, despite two young people being of mandatory school age (16 years); and

§ did not have access to Videolink to attend court.[footnote 207]

The Commissioners also noted their concern about Corrections Victoria staff interacting with young people without having Working With Children Checks. Further, the CCYP sought written advice about the circumstances in which Corrections Victoria Security and Emergency Services Group, which uses a range of weapons not ordinarily employed in Victorian youth justice facilities (tear gas, batons and canines), can enter the Grevillea Unit.[footnote 208]

In subsequent correspondence, Principal Commissioner Buchanan expressed ongoing concern about the infrastructure of the unit, designed for maximum security adult prisoners, which 'may negatively impact on the psychological wellbeing of the children and young people over time.'[footnote 209] The Principal Commissioner observes, '[footnote t]hese factors may pose a risk to the mental health of the children and young people, many of whom are already vulnerable to additional trauma.'[footnote 210]

The DHHS response to these concerns notes that young people in the Grevillea Unit have access to health services, including mental health services, and ongoing assessment of their mental health.[footnote 211] It was also observed that a Youth Justice Client Movement Panel had been established to consider proposed transfers between youth justice centres. Among the range of factors the Panel considers in deciding on proposed transfers is the mental health and wellbeing of young people.[footnote 212] In January 2017, the Principal Commissioner observed that some children and young people continued to spend extensive time in effective seclusion, locked in their cells for 23 hours per day. It was also noted that seclusion was being used punitively contrary to the Act.[footnote 213]

Conclusions

In assessing the causes and consequences of incidents in youth justice facilities, Ombudsman Deborah Glass noted that extended lockdowns of young people contribute to the tension that leads to disturbances and incidents of violence. 'It is evident that this is affected by a toxic combination of staff shortages and increasing overcrowding. It is predictable that a regime of lockdowns for young people will create unrest, and equally predictable that more lockdowns will follow that unrest,'[footnote 214] the Ombudsman observed.

In assessing the state of youth justice in Victoria, the Ombudsman observed 'while youth crime is decreasing overall, more is being committed, more violently, by a small cohort of repeat offenders, who the system is plainly failing to deal with.'[footnote 215] Ombudsman Glass noted that successive governments have failed to make the significant investment needed to address the long-term issues.[footnote 216] 'There is no short-term fix to the serious problems affecting youth justice, which have their origins not only in ageing infrastructure but in the complex interplay of health and human services, education and the justice system,'[footnote 217] the Ombudsman stated.

8.1.4 Commissioner for Children and Young People Inquiry into isolation, separations and lockdowns

The CCYP undertook an inquiry into isolation, separations and lockdowns in Victoria's youth justice centres from 1 February 2015 to 31 July 2016 and during December 2016. The report was tabled in Parliament on 22 March 2017. The report details systemic over-reliance on isolation and 'a cavalier approach to decision-making, without adequate consideration of the gravity or impact of the consequences – not only on the children and young people but also on the staff and the broader safety of the centres.'[footnote 218]

Number of incidents in youth justice detention

The report places the incidents at youth justice centres in a national context, observing that Victoria had the highest number and rate of young people in detention who were injured following a serious assault across Australia, according to the 2017 Report on Government Services.[footnote 219] Victoria also had the highest number and rate of young people and staff injured as a result of a serious assault per 10,000 custody nights for the same period, compared to other states and territories.[footnote 220]

DHHS reporting of critical incidents is based on a two-tiered system: Category One incidents are those that result in serious outcomes or trauma and Category Two incidents relate to events that threaten the health, safety and/or wellbeing of children, young people and others. There were 34 Category One incidents in 2014–15 and 100 in 2015–2016, an increase of 194 per cent. According to the report, DHHS advised that the increase was largely due to a change in practice in August 2015 in which young people are now asked upon admission if they wish to report any incidents related to their arrest and treatment prior to arriving at youth justice custodial services. When these incidents are excluded, however, the number of Category One incidents nonetheless increased by 59 per cent, the Commissioners found.[footnote 221]

Isolation

Data provided by DHHS showed there was an average of 8.8 isolations in place per day during the primary review period of February 2015–July 2016. In December 2016, however, the average increased nearly fivefold to 42.4 isolations, the report notes.[footnote 222] The Commissioners note that the incidence of isolation was likely to be much higher due to under-reporting.[footnote 223] While some recorded isolations were for short periods of one hour (23 per cent), some children and young people were isolated for weeks at a time.[footnote 224]


Figure 10: Isolations in Victorian youth justice facilities, February 2015- July 2016, by month

Commission for Children and Young People (2017) The same four walls: Inquiry into the use of isolation, separation and lockdowns in the Victorian youth justice system, CCYP, Melbourne, p. 46.

Nearly two-thirds of isolations occurred in bedrooms, however, during the period under investigation 1,700 involved children and young people being placed in isolation spaces. The report observes that the lack of sanitation in some isolation rooms led to young people urinating, and at times defecating, in isolation rooms.[footnote 225] The Commissioners note a concerning reliance on isolation to manage vulnerable young people, including those who had been the victim of assault or had health concerns.[footnote 226] Although the Act prohibits the use of isolation to punish a child or young person, the Commissioners expressed concern that DHHS policies contemplate the use of isolation as a 'consequence' for poor behaviour.[footnote 227] This was supported by evidence of children and young people who told the inquiry they were put in isolation as punishment.[footnote 228]

Staff raised concerns that some periods of isolation may occur because of inadequate staff training, particularly as the induction training course had been reduced from five weeks to three in 2016, according to the report.[footnote 229]

Lockdowns

Young people were denied access to fresh air, exercise, meaningful activities, education, support programs and visits, sometimes for extended periods as a result of lockdowns.[footnote 230] The inquiry found that there were more than 50 occasions when at least one unit of children and young people (up to 15 individuals) were held in continuous lockdown for over 36 hours and 88 occasions where detainees were locked in their rooms for 13 to 20 hours.[footnote 231] The DHHS Unit Lockdown Policy states that general managers may authorise lockdowns of up to six hours. Lockdowns longer than six hours must be authorised by the Director of Secure Services.[footnote 232] The Commissioners note, however, that the majority of lockdowns were not appropriately authorised.[footnote 233] The policy also states that lockdowns may occur due to staff shortages or because of safety concerns associated with the behaviour of children or young people.[footnote 234] Records show that the vast majority (83 per cent) of lockdowns at Parkville were attributed to staff shortages.[footnote 235] At Malmsbury, 25 out of 32 lockdowns (78 per cent) were attributed to staff shortages.[footnote 236]

Consequences

The Commissioners found that lockdowns 'disrupted positive routines and structures within the centres. They restricted access to education, programs and therapeutic support.'[footnote 237] Staff, children and young people told the inquiry that lockdowns were a source of increased tension and frustration within the youth justice centres.[footnote 238] The Commissioners observed that most children and young people in youth justice centres have a history of trauma or disadvantage.[footnote 239] The negative effects of trauma on a child's brain and behaviour influence their response to being detained, the report states. Loss of liberty, being isolated, unclothed searches, threats from others and conflict from peers can act as further triggers, activating a 'fight or flight' response that takes the form of aggressive or self-harming behaviour.[footnote 240] Accordingly, lockdowns and isolation can exacerbate harm and hinder rehabilitation.[footnote 241]

Compliance

The Commissioners expressed concern about poor compliance with legislation and policy in relation to isolation and lockdowns, including:

§ inadequate record keeping;

§ lack of clarity about the reasons that children and young people were placed in isolation;

§ failure to follow authorisation processes;

§ lack of consistent process in determining when children and young people would be released from isolation;

§ absence of adequate strategies to prevent and intervene in situations of escalating risk;

§ inadequacies in the facilities used for isolation;

§ lack of clarity about responsibilities to intervene in situations of self-harm; and

§ inadequate involvement and supervision by health services.[footnote 242]

Recommendations

The Commissioners make several recommendations aimed at avoiding excessive use of separation and isolation, improving compliance and improving conditions in isolation facilities. They call for clarifying legislative and policy guidance on the circumstances in which these interventions can be used, underpinned by the principle that they be used for the shortest possible time and not as a primary behaviour management tool. Further, where separation plans involve periods of isolation, this should be justified, accurately reflected in relevant records and accompanied by a broader range of individualised interventions to address a young person's behavioural issues or risk.[footnote 243] The Commissioners advise that the Act should be amended so that children and young people have a legislative prescribed hour of access to fresh air, as adults in custody do.[footnote 244]

Children and young people in the youth justice system who are acutely mentally unwell do not have access to designated facilities, unlike adults, the Commissioners note. They recommend the establishment of a dedicated unit to support children and young people who are experiencing significant psychological and psychiatric issues. This aligns with recommendations of the 2009 parliamentary inquiry and the 2010 Victorian Ombudsman's report, each of which called for a mental health treatment facility for young offenders with mental health needs.[footnote 245]

8.2 Reviews and inquiries into youth justice centres

There have been a range of reviews and inquiries relating to youth justice detention centres over the past two decades, including the following:

§ 2000 Graeme Baird report: Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre;

§ 2001 Graeme Baird report: Melbourne Juvenile Justice Centre;

§ 2004 Bob Falconer: Temporary leave programs;

§ 2010 Neil Comrie: Escape incident;

§ 2015 Peter Muir: Parkville Youth Justice Precinct;

§ 2016 Peter Muir: Riots at Parkville in March 2016;

§ 2017 Neil Comrie: Youth Justice Precinct (ongoing); and

§ 2017 Legal and Social Issues Committee Inquiry into Youth Justice.

Although these reviews remain confidential, several have been leaked to media organisations and subsequently reported on by the media.

8.2.1 Independent reviews

In a 2001 inquiry into the then Melbourne Juvenile Justice Centre, consultant Graeme Baird found that workers felt unsafe, there were high levels of sick leave and staff turnover, as well as excessive use of isolation for offenders.[footnote 246] Former Victoria Police chief commissioner Neil Comrie undertook an inquiry into a breakout by six young people at Parkville in May 2010, during which a staff member was assaulted.[footnote 247] Although it has not been released, the Victorian Ombudsman noted in 2014 that the Comrie report 'presented symptoms of a system requiring a sustained focus on structural and cultural change.'[footnote 248]

Peter Muir, former NSW Juvenile Justice Director, has submitted two reports to the Andrews Government into the Parkville Youth Justice Precinct, in 2015 and 2016. Although both Muir reports remain confidential, the 2016 report was leaked to Fairfax Media which published excerpts in The Age newspaper on 25 January 2017. The Age quotes the Muir report as stating that the excessive use of lockdowns, in which young persons are locked in their cells for long periods of time, was due to endemic staffing problems.[footnote 249] This, the report is quoted as stating, was 'increasing tension … and contributing to the level of risk.'[footnote 250] According to The Age, the Muir report stated that youth justice staff 'cannot be expected to house the mix (remand/sentenced), complexity and severity of offenders in the current set of facilities.'[footnote 251]

In January 2017, DHHS engaged Neil Comrie to report on the incidents at the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre and on any specific safety issues. The Executive Summary of Stage 1 of the review includes a recommendation that the DHHS develop a business plan for the construction of a new youth justice precinct at a suitable location, not the existing Parkville Precinct.[footnote 252]

8.2.2 Legal and Social Issues Committee inquiry

On 10 November 2016, the Legal and Social Issues Committee of the Legislative Council was tasked with inquiring into issues at Parkville and Malmsbury youth justice centres, including, but not limited to:

1. matters relating to incidents including definitions, numbers and any changes to the reporting of incidents;

2. the security and safety of staff, employees and young offenders at both facilities;

3. reasons for, and effects of, the increase in the numbers of young people on remand in the last 10 years;

4. implications of incarcerating young people who have significant exposure to trauma, alcohol and/or other drug misuse and/or the child protection system, or who have issues associated with mental health or intellectual functioning, in relation to –

a. the likelihood of reoffending

b. the implications of separating young people from their communities and cultures;

5. additional options for keeping young people out of youth justice centres;

6. the culture, policies, practices and reporting of management at the centres;

7. the role of the Department of Health and Human Services in overseeing practices at the centres; and

8. any other issues the Committee considers relevant.[footnote 253]


The Committee is required to report to Parliament on or before 1 August 2017.

At a public hearing on 17 March 2017, Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan told the Committee that there is an investigation into allegations that nine young people had been assaulted by staff in the Grevillea Unit inside Barwon Prison in February.[footnote 254] The Commissioner also described how staff shortages in youth justice centres had resulted in the extensive use of lockdowns. 'There are some fairly longstanding problems with retention, recruitment, absenteeism [footnote of staff] and my view is that the current instability in the system isn't going to be … addressed unless those staffing issues are resolved,'[footnote 255] the Commissioner stated.

 

9. The effects of isolation on young people

The effects of isolation on young people are relevant to the quality of care provided by the DHHS, how this affects the prospects of a young person's rehabilitation and the incidence of violence within youth justice centres.

The World Health Organization has found that solitary confinement, or isolation, can affect rehabilitation efforts and undermine a former detainee's chances of successful reintegration into society following their release.[footnote 256] There is considerable evidence linking time spent in isolation with poor mental health outcomes. Studies have found a correlation between isolation and depression, high rates of suicide, post-traumatic stress disorder and future criminal activity.[footnote 257] Common responses to isolation include emotional breakdowns, self-mutilation, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.[footnote 258]

People with pre-existing mental illness are particularly vulnerable to the effects of isolation.[footnote 259] This is pertinent to the isolation of young people given the prevalence of mental illness and the presence of risk factors for mental illness, such as emotional trauma, drug and alcohol abuse and difficulties in education, amongst young offenders. Research shows that isolation of young people can exacerbate pre-existing mental illness and increase the likelihood of subsequent drug abuse.[footnote 260] A report by the Australian Children's Commissioners and Guardians supports this hypothesis. It notes that '[footnote c]hildren in detention are particularly susceptible to medical, social and psychological problems. These issues are exacerbated by extended periods in isolation.'[footnote 261] The fact that young people are still developing physically, mentally and socially, as previously detailed, also increases their vulnerability to the effects of isolation.[footnote 262]

The consequences of a young person's isolation resonate beyond their period of isolation. A study into the effects of isolation found that although many of the acute symptoms suffered by inmates will likely subside once they are no longer in isolation, many 'will likely suffer permanent harm as a result of such confinement.'[footnote 263] Studies have found that people subjected to isolation face greater difficulty assimilating back into their communities, increasing the risk of recidivism.[footnote 264] Further, violence towards staff is more likely where detainees are kept in isolation[footnote 265] and units with large numbers of detainees in isolation are more likely to experience property damage.[footnote 266]

In 2011, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture called for a worldwide ban on solitary confinement, describing it as torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and noted that irreversible harmful psychological effects can occur after 15 days.[footnote 267] The Special Rapporteur also noted that the imposition of solitary confinement, of any duration, on juveniles is cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and violates Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and article 16 of the Convention against Torture.[footnote 268] United Nations treaty bodies, it is noted, consistently recommend that children and juvenile offenders should not be subjected to solitary confinement.[footnote 269] Rule 67 of the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (24) specifically lists solitary confinement among prohibited treatments.[footnote 270]

The effects of isolation on young people has caused the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists to call for a ban on solitary confinement. The Academy noted that because 'the potential psychiatric consequences of prolonged solitary confinement are well recognized and include depression, anxiety and psychosis', juvenile offenders, due to their developmental vulnerability, are at particular risk of such adverse reaction.[footnote 271]

9.1 Incidence of violence and isolation

Although confinement, or isolation, of young people is not supposed to be used as a disciplinary measure, the Australian Children's Commissioners and Guardians have found that it occurs in youth justice settings in all Australian states and territories. The Commissioners observed:

It is almost impossible to reconcile seclusion with the "best interests" of the child as it serves no integrative or rehabilitative objective. Children in detention are particularly susceptible to medical, social and psychological problems which can be seriously exacerbated by the use of seclusion cells or being left alone in their own cells for extended periods of time.[footnote 272]

The following overview of violent incidents in youth justice centres in NSW, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, and preceding or subsequent isolation of young people, supports the concern of the Commissioners regarding the use of isolation as a disciplinary measure. The investigations into outbreaks of violence and prolonged periods of isolation of young people highlight recurring themes of staff shortages, subsequent lockdowns and unrest amongst detainees.

New South Wales

In October 2016, the New South Wales Government announced a review into behaviour management in youth detention centres following reports that young offenders were being kept in isolation for up to 23 hours a day as punishment.[footnote 273] Existing case-management plans allow for the confinement of young people who have assaulted other detainees or staff for a lengthy period of time.[footnote 274] Reports suggest that some detainees had been required to wear handcuffs during their recreation hour or were banned from mixing with others.

The Children (Detention Centres) Act 1987 (NSW) specifies that detainees cannot be confined to their room for more than 12 hours or, in the case of a detainee over 16 years of age, 24 hours.[footnote 275] In one incident, four detainees were kept in isolation for 23 hours a day and handcuffed during their recreation hour for 10 days before reviews were conducted.[footnote 276] Corrections Minister, David Elliott, reported that one detainee spent 166 days over a 10-month period in isolation.[footnote 277] More than 300 incidents of self-harm were recorded in youth justice detention centres in the 2014–15 financial year, a rate four times higher than in the 2008-09 financial year.[footnote 278] One young person, who attempted to hang himself while in isolation, was placed on antipsychotic medication for auditory hallucinations which he had not experienced prior to the period in isolation.[footnote 279] Another young person cut his face after a prolonged period of isolation.[footnote 280]

Western Australia

The Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services found that excessive lockdowns of detainees due to ongoing and escalating staff shortages contributed to a riot in Banksia Hill Youth Justice Centre, Western Australia, on 20 January 2013.[footnote 281] In the month before the riot, approximately 22 uniformed staff out of the 80 rostered each day were absent. Even after others were brought in to cover the shifts through overtime, the facility was still down 15 uniformed staff every day on average.[footnote 282] The report concluded '[footnote a] consequence of the continuing and escalating staff shortages were the excessive lockdowns of detainees, a factor which precipitated the riot.'[footnote 283] The Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services recommended that lockdowns be minimised 'to meet improved standards of decency and dignity.'[footnote 284]

Northern Territory

The Children's Commissioner of the Northern Territory highlighted the practice of lockdowns, or isolation, at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in a self-initiated report in 2015 in response to a critical incident in August 2014 in which staff used tear gas and a security dog to subdue young people who had armed themselves and tried to escape.[footnote 285] Commissioner Colleen Gwynne found that six young people had been kept in a Behaviour Management Unit on 24-hour and 72-hour regimes contrary to the Youth Justice Act.[footnote 286] 'It was common for young people to remain in isolation for periods longer than 72 hours in a Behaviour Management Unit if their behaviour did not improve,' the Commissioner observed.[footnote 287] Conditions were found to be well below acceptable standards, with no access to natural light, drinking water, or programs to address rehabilitation or perceived behavioural issues.[footnote 288] One young person who participated in the violence had been held in isolation for 17 days straight, for up to 23 hours a day.[footnote 289]

The facility where Don Dale was located was shut down following the incident and Don Dale was subsequently moved to the former Berrimah adult prison. It has since become the subject of a Royal Commission following a damning investigation by the ABC show Four Corners, which uncovered CCTV footage of abuse of detained young people. Former staff member at Don Dale, Leonard De Souza, gave evidence to the Royal Commission that the centre was struggling with overcrowding, increased lockdowns, poor staff training and staff shortages. At one point, there was a ratio of up to 30 inmates to one staff member, Mr De Souza stated.[footnote 290] The Royal Commission is due to report by 1 August 2017.[footnote 291]

Queensland

The Cleveland Youth Detention Centre (CYDC) in Townsville, Queensland, has experienced similar ongoing issues to those of the Parkville Youth Detention Centre, including riots and detained young people causing damage to the facility and injuries to staff.[footnote 292] A report by the Queensland Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian into the response to a security incident in 2012 observed that the Centre was experiencing overcrowding and staffing shortfalls preceding, during and following the incident, and was struggling to maintain order.[footnote 293] The report notes that the Centre struggled to maintain adequate staffing levels to meet the ratios required for the high number of detained young people.[footnote 294] Following the incident, eight children were locked in solitary confinement for up to 22 hours a day, for 10 consecutive days in 2012, the Commission found.[footnote 295] According to the Commissioner, although the use of isolation was justified immediately after the incident, the continued separation once the situation had stabilised was not appropriate or justified.[footnote 296]

The Commissioner noted '[footnote t]here is a substantial body of national and international research, reviews, case studies and inquest findings available into the harmful effects of locked door separation [footnote isolation], including in relation to the particular impacts on young people and Indigenous Australians.'[footnote 297] As such, according to the Commission, 'it is possible that the young people may have suffered emotional harm as a consequence of being subjected to locked door separation [footnote isolation], with limited mental and physical stimulation, for a minimum of 22 hours a day for a ten day period.'[footnote 298]

In November 2016, Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath ordered a review into the Townsville and Brisbane youth detention centres following reports of mistreatment and abuse of detainees.[footnote 299] In one incident, a 17-year-old was reportedly detained, handcuffed, stripped and taken into isolation after refusing to take a shower.[footnote 300] Documents obtained by Amnesty International show that there were 31 incidents of children in the CYDC attempting to commit suicide by tying ligatures around their necks in 2015.[footnote 301] This was an increase from 20 instances in 2014.[footnote 302] The final report was provided to the Attorney-General on 14 December 2016, however, it has not been made public.[footnote 303]

10. Rising rates of remand

It is widely accepted that the rising rates of remand are problematic in terms of the prospects of individual rehabilitation of young people as well as the youth justice system more broadly.[footnote 304]

The Youth Justice Remand Bail Strategy states that the number of young people on remand at the Melbourne Youth Justice Centres has continued to trend upwards since 2008.[footnote 305] In 2005–06, young people on remand comprised 36 per cent of the overall custodial population.[footnote 306] In January 2011, it reached 60 per cent.[footnote 307] The 2015–16 Youth Parole Board Annual Report states that 80 per cent of clients in custody were on remand and only 20 per cent were serving a custodial sentence.[footnote 308]

Reforms to the Bail Act 1977 (Vic) in 2013 that created an offence to a breach of bail condition have been identified as contributing to the significant increase in children held on remand in recent years.[footnote 309] The Children's Court of Victoria Annual Report 201415 shows a 57 per cent increase in the number of children being admitted to remand in the 12-month period following the introduction of the Bail Act 1977 (Vic) reforms.[footnote 310] The report states 'the number of alleged young offenders being admitted to remand increased alarmingly following the commencement of amendments to the Bail Act in December 2013,'[footnote 311] in what it describes as an 'undesirable development.'[footnote 312] The following table compiled by Jesuit Social Services illustrates the increased issuance of remand orders from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2015.


Figure 13: The trend in remand orders from 1 July 2005–30 June 2015

Jesuit Social Services (2015) 'An escalating problem: Responding to the increased remand of children in Victoria', JSS, Melbourne, p. 3.

Increasing remand figures cannot be explained by changes in crime rates or numbers of young people sentenced by the Children's Court as these have decreased in recent years.[footnote 313] As such, the increase in the number of young people on remand is not due to an increasing number of offenders.[footnote 314]

10.1 Risk factors for remand

The Act states '[footnote b]ail must not be refused to a child on the sole ground that the child does not have any, or any adequate, accommodation.'[footnote 315] Further, the Act requires that children be proceeded against by summons rather than arrest unless exceptional circumstances exist.[footnote 316] This reflects the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, which state 'whenever possible, detention pending trial shall be replaced by alternative measures, such as close supervision, intensive care or placement with a family or in an educational setting or home.'[footnote 317] However, as the SAC observes, some legislated protections are 'at times, undercut by practical difficulties,'[footnote 318] with Children's Courts 'sometimes forced to remand young people due to the lack of available, appropriate accommodation.'[footnote 319]

Research consistently identifies homelessness and a lack of suitable accommodation as key factors underpinning increasing custodial remand rates of young people.[footnote 320] Homeless young people are more likely than their peers to be placed on remand rather than released on bail.[footnote 321] Many young people are held on remand because they are unable to meet strict bail conditions, which typically require a young person to reside at a specific address.[footnote 322] Lack of appropriate accommodation also makes it difficult for young people to meet other bail conditions.[footnote 323] In its Review of the Bail Act, the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) expressed concern that 'bail conditions more onerous than sentencing orders are sometimes imposed on children', often 'without organising support for the child.'[footnote 324] Accordingly, young people are sometimes placed on custodial remand 'for their own good'.[footnote 325]

Studies show that homelessness or lack of suitable accommodation affects particular groups of young people, including young people in regional, rural and remote areas,[footnote 326] and, as a corollary, Indigenous young people.[footnote 327] Young women who have experienced physical and sexual abuse are also at risk of remand because it is less likely that they will have a stable environment to return to.[footnote 328] Young people in out-of-home care are also vulnerable to refusal of bail as a result of not having stable accommodation as child protection agencies are at times unable to provide young people facing remand with appropriate accommodation.[footnote 329]

A national research project into bail and remand for young people in Australia found that young people with complex needs and welfare issues are most vulnerable to receiving custodial remand. The project established that young people with multiple and complex needs are sometimes placed on custodial remand because services and programs exist in custody that are not available in the community.[footnote 330] Stakeholders noted that young people would be more likely to receive appropriate mental health assessments or supported schooling in custody than in the community.[footnote 331] As the researchers observe, '[footnote i]n this way, custodial remand acts as a pathway to adequate services for young people with complex histories and needs.'[footnote 332] This implies that there is a lack of appropriate services available to young people in the community, including alcohol and other drug services, physical and mental health services, child protection and out-of-home care services.[footnote 333]


Indigenous young people

The complex and interconnected risk factors that contribute to the over-representation of Indigenous young people in the criminal justice system also increase the probability that Indigenous young people will be held on remand rather than released on bail. A 2013 study found Indigenous young people are more than 20 times more likely to be held on custodial remand (222 young people per 100,000 population) compared with the rate of non-Indigenous young people (10 per 100,000).[footnote 334] Researchers have identified factors that influence levels of pre-trial remand amongst Indigenous people, including:

§ their over-representation at all levels of the criminal justice system;[footnote 335]

§ how Indigeneity may influence police discretion;[footnote 336]

§ bail refusal by the courts;[footnote 337]

§ Indigenous young people are refused bail more often than non-Indigenous young people;[footnote 338] and

§ how Indigeneity both mitigates and negatively impacts sentencing outcomes[footnote 339] and therefore may also influence court decisions around pre-trial remand.[footnote 340]

Further, Indigenous young people spend more time on remand than non-Indigenous young people. Out of the total young people on pre-trial remand from 2012–2013 in Australian youth detention centres, Indigenous young people spent two weeks longer remanded in custody than non-Indigenous young people.[footnote 341] Ongoing time spent in remand has been found to weaken communities and culture, distort social norms and normalise prison, all of which increase the probability of reoffending.[footnote 342] Consequently, Indigenous young people held in detention for any period of time are more likely to reoffend than those who are not detained.[footnote 343]

10.2 Consequences of high remand of young people

The high levels of remand of young people in Victoria have consequences for the young offenders in question and the youth justice system more broadly.

Consequences for children and young people

The effects of custody on young people are central to concerns about the high levels of remand. As previously discussed, the principle of detention as a last resort is fundamental to Victoria's youth justice system. This is due to the unique circumstances underpinning youth offending, as well as the window for rehabilitation that adolescent development provides. The impact of detention on children is similar to its effect on adults, however, because of children's particular vulnerabilities, detention may cause additional problems for children's developmental and physical health.[footnote 344] Studies have found that detention has serious and lasting consequences for the emotional, intellectual and social development of young people.[footnote 345] It can impede the developmental process and cause serious mental health problems, including depression, self-harm and suicidal ideation.[footnote 346]

Youth detention centres are often far from young people's homes, meaning many young people held on remand experience separation from family and community.[footnote 347] Research has found that removing a young person from their usual social support structures increases the risk of potential physical and psychological harm to the young person.[footnote 348] Remand also causes disruption to any education and/or employment a young person may be undertaking. This is problematic in terms of the protective role that engagement with school and employment can play in reducing young people's offending.[footnote 349]

Time in detention increases the probability of reoffending

The criminogenic effect of incarceration and the creation of delinquent peer groups is another troubling element of high levels of remand, particularly where sentenced offenders associate with those on remand. The antisocial associations within a correctional centre are often detrimental to new or less serious offenders who are often exposed to more long term or serious offenders.[footnote 350] Research shows that detention is criminogenic and further marginalises young people, which can lead to their entrenchment in the criminal justice system.[footnote 351] This is particularly problematic for the 25 per cent of young people remanded who do not go on to receive a custodial sentence, but who have been exposed to circumstances that increase the probability of reoffending. [footnote 352]

Separating young people on remand from sentenced young people

A high proportion of detainees on remand also means it is difficult to separate children and young people on remand from those who are sentenced. As the Youth Justice Remand Bail Strategy observes:

Mixing remand and sentenced clients, without reasonable justification, compromises the department's ability to meet its legal obligations to separate young offenders and remandees in custody as required under section 482 of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, and is a potential breach of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.[footnote 353]

This was noted in the Ombudsman's 2010 report, which found the mixing of remanded and sentenced detainees of varying ages to be contrary to section 22(2) and 23(1) of the Charter and section 481(1)(c) of the Act.[footnote 354]


Access to rehabilitative services is limited

Further, access to mandated and required services can be difficult in the remand context where the guilt or innocence of a young person has not yet been established.[footnote 355] The Youth Parole Board has acknowledged this point, noting that although programs for young people on remand exist, they are necessarily limited.[footnote 356] As a result, a young person may not receive the necessary services for addressing the underlying causes of their offending.[footnote 357] The Comrie review into the November 2016 incident at Parkville Youth Detention Centre also observed that 'the ratio of those on remand to those undergoing sentences presents a new range of challenges in custodial management for youth justice services on a day to day basis.'[footnote 358]

The accumulated effect of these factors undermines the prospect of rehabilitation and increases the probability of reoffending.

Legal implications

It has been argued that imprisoning young people for lack of alternative accommodation potentially undermines five key legal principles of the criminal law, youth justice and child protection:

§ the presumption of innocence;

§ proportionate sentencing;

§ the right not to be arbitrarily detained;

§ the notion of detention as a last resort for young people; and

§ the entitlement of all children to special protection from the state.[footnote 359]

These principles are found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its associated rules and guidelines, including the Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, the Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty and the Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency.[footnote 360]

High numbers on remand and incidents in youth justice centres

The high proportion of young people in detention held on remand is linked to unrest and tension within youth justice centres. In response to the 2017 CCYP report into isolation, separation and lockdowns, DHHS noted that the unprecedented increase in remand numbers placed significant pressure on Victoria's youth justice custodial system as the remand cohort of young people 'demonstrates even greater unrest than sentenced clients.' This was supported in evidence to the CCYP inquiry by staff and management, who observed that the increase in remandees has placed pressure on the system and limited their ability to develop positive and trusting relationships.[footnote 361]

 

 

Recent amendments

In 2016, the Victorian Parliament passed the Bail Amendment Act 2016 (Vic) to address the steep increase in the number of children arrested and held on remand.[footnote 362] The amendments included:

§ a presumption in favour of proceeding against children by summons rather than arrest;[footnote 363]

§ exempting children from the offence of breaching a condition of bail;[footnote 364] and

§ creating child-specific factors that address the particular needs of children to be considered in bail decisions.[footnote 365]

The presumption in favour of initiating criminal proceedings against children by summons, rather than arrest, aligns with Victoria Police best practice.[footnote 366] It also reflects the Australian Law Reform Commission's conclusions in its 1997 report Seen and Heard: Priority for Children in the Legal Process: '[footnote t]there should be a presumption in favour of bail for all young suspects. The absence of a traditional family network should not negate this presumption.'[footnote 367] The VLRC's 2007 report similarly recommended a presumption in favour of summons when proceeding against children.[footnote 368]

The Andrews Government anticipates that exempting children from the offence of breaching a condition of bail will reduce the number of young people held on remand,[footnote 369] as does the Youth Parole Board[footnote 370] and Victoria Legal Aid.[footnote 371]

The Bail Amendment Act 2016 (Vic) inserted section 3B into the Bail Act 1977(Vic). It states:
In making a determination under this Act in relation to a child, a court must take into account (in addition to any other requirements of this Act) –

(a) the need to consider all other options before remanding the child in custody; and

(b) the need to strengthen and preserve the relationship between the child and the child's family, guardians or carers; and

(c) the desirability of allowing the living arrangements of the child to continue without interruption or disturbance; and

(d) the desirability of allowing the education, training or employment of the child to continue without interruption or disturbance; and

(e) the need to minimise the stigma to the child resulting from being remanded in custody; and

(f) the likely sentence should the child be found guilty of the offence charged; and

(g) the need to ensure that the conditions of bail are no more onerous than are necessary and do not constitute unfair management of the child.


Sections (a) – (f) were recommended by the 2007 VLRC review of the Bail Act 1977.[footnote 372]

10.3 Bail programs

Bail support programs play an important part in assisting young people to meet the conditions of their bail, thereby keeping them out of youth justice detention as they await trial.

Central After Hours Assessment and Bail Placement Service

The Central After Hours Assessment and Bail Placement Service is a state-wide service that aims to keep young people who have offended in their community. Court and bail advice is provided to ensure Children's Courts and bail justices undertake informed decision-making and that young people are dealt with in a manner that is consistent with the key principles of diversion and minimum intervention that underpin the Act.[footnote 373]

Intensive Bail Supervision Program

The Intensive Bail Supervision Program provides intensive bail supervision and support to young people aged 10–18 years who are at risk of being remanded or re-remanded.[footnote 374] It aims to assist young people to comply with bail conditions and divert them from future involvement in the criminal justice system.[footnote 375] The Report on the Bail Act by the VLRC recommended that an intensive bail support program be funded in the Children's Court, just as adults have access to in the Magistrates' Court.[footnote 376]

In 2010, an Intensive Bail Support Program pilot was undertaken, which Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) found to be extremely effective in reducing reoffending.[footnote 377] VLA noted that many participants would otherwise have stayed in remand until their legal representatives could arrange appropriate support services or until they chose to plead guilty or were found not guilty.[footnote 378] Until recently, however, the program was only offered in the north, west and south metropolitan regions of Melbourne, meaning young people in regional Victoria did not have the same access to the diversionary support as their metropolitan peers.

Recent amendments

In December 2016, the Andrews Government announced a range of youth justice reforms, including extending the Intensive Bail Supervision Program scheme across the entire state.[footnote 379] This reform was largely welcomed by agencies and organisations involved in youth justice, with CEO of Youth Affairs Council Victoria Georgie Ferrari stating, '[footnote t]hese initiatives have shown success in helping young people to remain in the community with appropriate supports … a young person should not miss out on getting the right interventions just because of where they live.'[footnote 380]

The Andrews Government also announced the expansion of the Central After Hours Assessment and Bail Placement Service, which assists police and bail justices in deciding how to deal with a young offender who has been arrested out of hours. This reflects the finding that 80 per cent of arrests of children and young people in Victoria take place outside of business hours.[footnote 381] The service aims to reduce inappropriate remands in custody, enhance informed decision-making and ensure that young people are dealt with in a manner consistent with the key principles of diversion and minimum intervention that underpin the Act.[footnote 382]

11. Review of youth support, youth diversion and youth justice services

DHHS is currently undertaking a review of youth support, youth diversion and youth justice services to create an overarching policy framework that reflects existing challenges.[footnote 383]

The review will consider the DHHS's programs and services including:

Pre-charge / Pre-court / Post-sentencing

Programs and services

Pre-charge / Pre-court

Youth Support Service

Community-Based Koori Youth Justice Program

Pre-court

Youth Referral and Independent Persons Program

Central After Hours Assessment and Bail Placement Service

Pre-court / Pre-sentence

Diversion in the Children's Court (pilot, pre-plea)

Youth Justice Bail Supervision

Youth Justice Court Advice Service

Pre-sentence

Youth Justice Group Conferencing

Pre-sentence / Post-sentencing

Youth Justice Community-Based Supervision

Koori Youth Justice Program – statutory response

Youth Justice Community support service

Youth Justice Custodial Supervision (remand and sentence)

Custodial based health services and rehabilitation programs (YHARS)

Access to tertiary health services including clinical mental health services

Post-sentencing

Youth Justice support service


The Terms of Reference acknowledge that there is no departmental youth justice framework that guides the coordination of work by the Department with key partners Victoria Police, the DJR and the Department of Education and Training.[footnote 384] It also notes that the current government policy A Balanced Approach to Juvenile Justice in Victoria is 16 years old.[footnote 385]

Former Secretary of the Department of Justice Penny Armytage and Professor James Ogloff, Director of the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science and Foundation Professor of Clinic Forensic Psychology, Swinburne University, are leading the review. The findings of the review are due to be released by April 2017.[footnote 386]

12. Recent announcements on youth justice

In December 2016, the Andrews Government announced a range of reforms to youth justice, including:

§ increasing the maximum period of detention that can be imposed by the Children's Court from three to four years;

§ establishing a new Youth Control Order to give the Children's Court the power to issue a more intensive and targeted supervision sentence for young offenders;

§ setting up an intensive monitoring and control bail supervision scheme;

§ extending the youth justice bail supervision scheme across the entire state, as mentioned in section 10.3; and

§ expanding the Central After Hours Assessment and Bail Placement Service.[footnote 387]

On February 6 2017, Premier Andrews announced that responsibility for youth justice in Victoria will be moved from the DHHS to the DJR. Corrections Victoria will permanently manage the security of youth justice facilities.[footnote 388] The Premier also announced a $288 million youth justice centre in Werribee South, including 224 beds for remand and sentenced clients, a 12-bed mental health unit and an intensive supervision unit of at least eight beds.[footnote 389] In response to a community backlash, however, the Andrews Government announced the new youth justice centre would be built in Cherry Creek, Wyndham, rather than Werribee South as initially proposed.[footnote 390]

The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment

In February 2017, the Federal Government announced it would ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) by the end of 2017.[footnote 391] As a result, youth detention centres will be independently monitored by a network of Australian inspectorates to improve the oversight of places of detention in Australia.[footnote 392]

Such inspectorates would have the power to:

§ access all places of detention;

§ speak to detainees and others in private;

§ choose freely which places to visit and which people to talk to;

§ access information on the treatment and conditions of detainees; and

§ access information about detainees and places of detention.[footnote 393]

The commitment to ratify OPCAT was welcomed by Human Rights Commissioner Ed Santow,[footnote 394] Amnesty International,[footnote 395] the Law Council of Australia[footnote 396] and UNICEF.[footnote 397] Director of Policy and Advocacy at UNICEF Australia, Nicole Breeze, stated '[footnote t]he Federal Government's commitment to ratify OPCAT is a significant and positive development. Preventative monitoring will ensure better protection for children who are held in places of detention.'[footnote 398]

 

References

Relevant Legislation

Victoria

§ Bail Act 1977 (Vic)

§ Bail Amendment Act 2013 (Vic)

§ Bail Amendment Act 2016 (Vic)

§ Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006(Vic)

§ Children, Youth and Families Act 2005(Vic)

§ Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)

Other Australian jurisdictions

§ Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT)

§ Children (Detention Centres) Act 1987 (NSW)

§ Juvenile Justice Act 1992(Qld)

§ Young Offenders Act 1993(SA)

§ Young Offenders Act 1994(WA)

§ Young Offenders Act 1997(NSW)

§ Youth Justice Act 1997 (Tas)

§ Youth Justice Act (NT)

International instruments

§ Convention on the Rights of the Child, opened for signature 20 November 1989, 1577 UNTS 3 (entered into force 2 September 1990)

§ Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, opened for signature 10 December 1984, 1465 UNTS 85 (entered into force 26 June 1987)

§ United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, opened for signature 18 December 2002, A/RES/57/100 (entered into force 22 June 2006)

Cases

§ Bradley Webster (a pseudonym) v The Queen [2016] VSCA 66

§ CNK v The Queen [2011] VSCA 228

§ Director of Public Prosecutions v TY (No 3) [2007] VSC 489

§ Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs v Teoh (1995) 183 CLR 273

§ R v ALH [2003] VSCA 129

§ R v Mills [1998] 4 VR 235

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[1] D. Andrews, Premier (2017) Building a stronger and more secure youth justice system, media release, 6 February.

[2] ibid.

[3] P. Wright & P. Johnson (2017) 'Youths transferred to adult prison after more riots at Parkville youth justice centre', ABC, 8 January.

[4] Children, Youth and Families Act 2005(Vic) s 3.

[5] CNK v The Queen [2011] VSCA 228 [11].

[6] R v ALH [2003] VSCA 129, cited in Victorian Law Reform Commission (2014) Review of the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997, VLRC, Melbourne, p. 121.

[7] Convention on the Rights of the Child, opened for signature 20 November 1989, 1577 UNTS 3 (entered into force 2 September 1990) article 3(1).

[8] ibid, article 40(3)(b).

[9] ibid, article 40(4).

[10] ibid, article 40

[11] ibid, article 12.

[12] Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs v Teoh (1995) 183 CLR 273 [287], cited in P. Power (2015) 'Research Materials: Chapter 11 Sentencing', Children's Court of Victoria, 11.1.16.

[13] C. Maxwell (2005) 'Human Rights: A view from the bench', address to the Annual General Meeting of the Administrative Law and Human Rights Section of the Law Institute of Victoria, 26 October, p. 3

[14] Director of Public Prosecutions v TY (No 3) [2007] VSC 489 [51], quoted in P. Power (2015) op. cit., 11.1.16.

[15] ibid [48].

[16] Department of Health and Human Services (2015) Youth Justice Group Conferencing: Fact Sheet, DHHS, Melbourne, p. 2; Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic), s 32.

[17] M. Ericson & T. Vinson (2011) 'Young people on remand in Victoria: Balancing individual and community interests', Jesuit Social Services, p. 17.

[18] ibid.

[19] K. Richards (2011) 'What makes juvenile offenders different from adult offenders?', Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 409, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra, p. 1.

[20] Director of Public Prosecutions v TY (No 3) [2007] VSC 489 [43].

[21] Richards (2011) op. cit., p. 1, quoting L. Steinberg (2005) 'Cognitive and affective development in adolescence', Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(2), p. 70.

[22] E. Scott & L. Steinberg (2010) Rethinking Juvenile Justice, Cambridge, Harvard University Press.

[23] Richards (2011) op. cit., p. 4.

[24] M. Omogho Esiri (2016) 'The influence of peer pressure on criminal behaviour' Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 21(1), p. 10.

[25] E. Scott & L. Steinberg (2010) op. cit., p. 38.

[26] Bradley Webster (a pseudonym) v The Queen [2016] VSCA 66 [8]; C.M. Chu & J. Ogloff (2012) 'Sentencing of adolescent offenders in Victoria: A review of empirical evidence and practice', Psychiatry, Psychology and the Law, 19(3); A. Ortiz (2004) 'Adolescence, rain development and legal culpability', Juvenile Justice Center, American Bar Association website, accessed 18 January 2017; S. Schad (2011) 'Adolescent decision making: Reduced culpability in the criminal justice system and recognition of culpability in other legal contexts', Journal of Health Care Law and Policy, 14(2).

[27] P. Johnstone (2014) '"The grey matter between right and wrong": Neurobiology and young offending', paper presented to the Children's Legal Service Conference, Sydney, 11 October, p. 8.

[28] L. Jordan & J. Farrell (2013) 'Juvenile justice diversion in Victoria: A blank canvas?', Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 24(3), p. 419, quoting C. Cunneen & R. White (2002) Juvenile Justice: Youth and Crime in Australia, South Melbourne, Oxford University Press; D. Farrington (1977) 'The effects of public labelling', British Journal of Criminology, 17, p. 113; H. Hayes & K. Daly (2003) 'Conferencing and re-offending in Queensland', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 37, p. 169.

[29] K. Richards & L. Renshaw (2013) 'Bail and remand for young people in Australia: A national research project', Australian Institute of Criminology, Research and Public Policy Series No. 125, p. 2; L. Jordan & J. Farrell (2013) op. cit., p. 420, quoting T. Allard et al. (2010) 'Police diversion of young offenders and Indigenous over-representation', Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 390, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra; T. Cunningham (2007) 'Pre-court diversion in the Northern Territory: Impact on juvenile offending', Trends & Issues in Criminal Justice, No. 339, Australian Institute of Criminology, p. 6.

[30] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2015) 'Young people returning to sentenced youth justice supervision', Juvenile Justice Series No. 18, Canberra, p. 4.

[31] L. Jordan & J. Farrell (2013) op. cit., p. 419, quoting H. Becker (1963) Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance, New York, Free Press; E. Lemert (1969) 'Primary and Secondary Deviation' in D. Cressy & D. Ward (eds) Delinquency, Crime and Social Process, New York, Harper and Row; J. Bernburg et al. (2006) 'Official labelling, criminal embeddedness and subsequent delinquency: A longitudinal test of labeling theory', Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 43(1).

[32] M. Ericson & T. Vinson (2011) op. cit., p. 19, quoting P. Mazerolle & J. Sanderson (2008) Understanding Remand in the Juvenile Justice System in Queensland, prepared for the Department of Communities, Brisbane.

[33] Children, Youth and Families Act 2005(Vic) s 362(1)(d).

[34] K. Richards & L. Renshaw (2013) op. cit., p. 2.

[35] P. Power (2015) op. cit., 11.1.3

[36] C.M. Chu & J. Ogloff (2012) op. cit., p. 325.

[37] R v Mills [1998] 4 VR 235.

[38] 11.4

[39] E. Martakis (2017) 'Appropriate legal interventions for children and young people in Victoria', Victoria Legal Aid, Research Brief, Melbourne, p. 2.

[40] H. Little & T Karp (2012) 'Sentencing children and young people in Victoria', Sentencing Advisory Council, Melbourne, p. 53, citing R. Fox & A. Freiburg (1999) Sentencing: State and federal law in Victoria, South Melbourne, Oxford University Press.

[41] Department of Health and Human Services (2015) op. cit., p. 1.

[42] Department of Justice (2012) Practical Lessons, Fair Consequences: Improving Diversion for Young People in Victoria, DoJ, Melbourne, p. 3.

[43] Victoria Police (2010) Child and Youth Strategy 2009-13, Victoria Police, Melbourne, 10.

[44] Warnings and Formal Cautions, Lawstuff website, accessed 18 January 2017.

[45] Victoria Police (2010) op. cit., p. 10.

[46] L. Jordan & J. Farrell (2013) op. cit, p. 424.

[47] Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT) ch 4; Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW) pt 4; Youth Justice Act (NT) pt 3; Juvenile Justice Act 1992(Qld) pt 2 div 2; Young Offenders Act 1993(SA); Youth Justice Act 1997 (Tas) s 8; Young Offenders Act 1994(WA) pt 5 div 1.

[48] Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee (2009) Inquiry into Strategies to Prevent High Volume Offending and Recidivism by Young People, July, Melbourne, The Committee, p. 186.

[49] L. Jordan & J. Farrell (2013) op. cit., p. 426.

[50] ibid, p. 426–427.

[51] ibid.

[52] H. Blagg & M. Wilkie (1995) 'Young people and police powers', Australian Youth Foundation, Sydney; Cunneen, C. (1994) 'Enforcing genocide? Aboriginal young people and the police', in R. White & C. Alder (eds) The Police and Young People in Australia, Melbourne, Cambridge University Press; Hopkins, T. (2007) 'Complaints against police behaviour in Flemington, Victoria', Alternative Law Journal, 32; T. Walsh & M. Taylor (2007) '"You're not welcome here": Police move-on powers and discrimination law', University of New South Wales Law Journal, 30; R. White, R (1996) 'Racism, policing and ethnic youth gangs', Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 7.

[53] T. Allard et al. (2010) op. cit.; K. Richards (2010) 'Police-referred restorative justice for juveniles in Australia', Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 398, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra; J. Taylor (2004) Social indicators for Aboriginal governance: Insights from the Thamarrurr Region, Northern Territory, monograph, no. 24, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Canberra, ANU E-Press.

[54] Drugs and Crime Reduction Prevention Committee (2009) Inquiry into Strategies to Prevent High Volume Offending and Recidivism by Young People, July, Melbourne, The Committee, p. 216.

[55] ibid.

[56] Victorian Government (2009) Government Response to the Parliament of Victoria Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee's final report on its Inquiry into Strategies to Prevent High Volume Offending and Recidivism by Young People, p. 18-19.

[57] Department of Health and Human Services (2015) Forensic Services, DHHS website, accessed 17 January.

[58] E. Martakis (2017) op. cit., p. 4.

[59] L. Jordan & J. Farrell (2013) op. cit., p. 427.

[60] Department of Justice (2010) Statewide Diversion in the Children's Court, report, cited in H. Little & T. Karp (2012) op. cit., p. 34.

[61] Victoria Police (2007) 'Victoria Police shows local youth the Ropes', media release, 14 February.

[62] H. Little & T. Karp (2012) op. cit., p. 34.

[63] KPMG (2010) Evaluation of the Ropes Program, prepared for Victoria Police, Melbourne, p. 53, cited in H. Little & T. Karp (2012) op. cit., p. 34.

[64] E. Martakis, op. cit., p. 14.

[65] ibid.

[66] Youth Connect (2012) 'Diverting young people from the Victorian justice system', Pilot Evaluation Report, Melbourne, p. 4.

[67] H. Little & T. Karp (2012) op. cit., p. 35.

[68] Youth Connect (2012) op. cit., p. 6.

[69] E. Martakis (2017) op. cit., p. 4.

[70] Department of Health and Human Services (2015) Youth Justice Group Conferencing: Fact Sheet, op. cit., p. 1.

[71] ibid.

[72] Section 415 the Act.

[73] Department of Health and Human Services (2015) Youth Justice Group Conferencing: Fact Sheet, op. cit., p. 2.

[74] Productivity Commission (2016) Report on Government Services 2014-15: Youth Justice, Productivity Commission, Canberra, Table 16A.13.

[75] ibid.

[76] KPMG (2010) op. cit., p. 39.

[77] ibid.

[78] L. Jordan & J. Farrell (2013) op. cit., p. 419

[79] D. Ritchie & N. Hudson (2016) 'Sentencing children in Victoria: Data update report', Sentencing Advisory Council, Melbourne, p. 9.

[80] Department of Justice (2013) Youth Justice Remand Bail Strategy, DoJ, Melbourne, p. 3.

[81] R. Coverdale (2011) 'Postcode justice: Rural and regional disadvantage in the administration of the law in Victoria', Centre for Rural Regional Law and Justice, Deakin University.

[82] H. Blagg (2009) 'Youth justice in Western Australia', Commissioner for Children and Young People, Perth, p. 24.

[83] P. Grant (2013) op. cit., p. 16.

[84] Youth Parole Board (2007) Annual Report, Melbourne, p. xi;

[85] E. Martakis (2017) op. cit., p. 3; H. Fatouros (2016) 'Is our youth justice system really broken?', paper presented to the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Conference, Melbourne, 22 July.

[86] ibid, p. 3.

[87] ibid; H. Little & T. Karp (2012) op. cit., p. 28; L. Jordan & J. Farrell (2013) op. cit., p. 419; Jesuit Social Services (2014) 'Youth Justice: Strengthening our approach', JSS, Melbourne, p. 4; Smart Justice (2013) 'Youth diversion makes sense', Smart Justice, Melbourne, p. 1; H. Fatouros (2016) op. cit., p. 14; P. Grant (2013) 'Youth justice: Getting the early years right', Insight, Victorian Council of Social Service, Issue 8, p. 15; Youth Connect (2012) op. cit., p. 6.

[88] H. Little & T. Karp (2012) op. cit., p. 28.

[89] ibid; L. Jordan & J Farrell op. cit., p. 423.

[90] ibid.

[91] Jesuit Social Services (2013) 'Thinking outside: Alternatives to remand for children', JSS, Melbourne, p. 8.

[92] D. Ritchie & N. Hudson (2016) op. cit., p. 9.

[93] ibid, p. 10.

[94] Jesuit Social Services (2016) 'Youth diversion helps young people avoid lifetime involvement with the justice system, media release, April 26.

[95] J. Mikakos, Minister for Families and Children (2016) Reducing youth offending by intervening early, media release, 24 April.

[96] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2015) 'Youth detention population in Australia', Bulletin 131, Canberra, p. 3.

[97] A. Chrzanowski & R. Wallis (2011) 'Understanding the youth justice system', in A. Stewart et al. (eds) Evidence based policy and practice in youth justice, Annandale, Federation Press, p. 7.

[98] Section 361.

[99] Section 361(1)(g).

[100] Department of Health and Human Services (2015) Youth justice in Victoria: Fact Sheet, op. cit., p. 1; Children, Youth and Families Act 2005(Vic) s 412.

[101] Department of Health and Human Services (2015) Youth justice in Victoria Fact Sheet, op. cit., p. 1.

[102] Children, Youth and Families Act 2005(Vic) s 411.

[103] Department of Health and Human Services (2012) Custody, DHHS website, accessed on 8 February 2017.

[104] Children, Youth and Families Act 2005(Vic) s 412.

[105] Department of Health and Human Services (2012) op. cit., accessed on 8 February 2017.

[106] Section 487

[107] Section 488(1).

[108] Section 488(3).

[109] Section 488(6).

[110] D. Ritchie & N. Hudson (2016) op. cit., p. 12.

[111] E. Martakis (2017) op. cit., p. 9, citing Victoria Police Crime Statistics 2013-14 eBook, as extracted from data on the Law Enforcement Assistance Program on 18 July 2014, Victoria Police, Melbourne.

[112] P. Sutherland & M. Millsteed (2016) 'Downward Trend in the Number of Young Offenders, 2006 to 2015', Crime Statistics Agency, Number 1, p. 1.

[113] D. Ritchie & N. Hudson (2016) op. cit., p. 14.

[114] P. Sutherland & M. Millsteed (2016) 'Downward Trend in the Number of Young Offenders, 2006 to 2015', op. cit., p. 1.

[115] Bail Amendment Act 2013 (Vic) s 8; Bail Act 1977 (Vic) s 30A.

[116] D. Ritchie & N. Hudson (2016) op. cit., p. 12.

[117] ibid.

[118] Bail Amendment Act 2016 (Vic) s 16(2); Bail Act 1977 (Vic) s 30A.

[119] M. Millsteed & P. Sutherland (2016) 'How has Youth Crime in Victoria Changed over the Past 10 Years?,' Crime Statistics Agency, Number 3, p. 1.

[120] ibid.

[121] ibid.

[122] F. Dowsley, Chief Statistician (2016) Adult Offenders Drive Increases in Recorded Crime in Past 12 Months, Crime Statistics Agency, Melbourne, 15 December.

[123] Sentencing Advisory Council (2016) Reoffending by children and young people in Victoria, SAC, Fact Sheet, Melbourne.

[124] ibid.

[125] M. Millsteed & P. Sutherland (2016) op. cit., p. 2.

[126] ibid, p. 1.

[127] P. Sutherland & M. Millsteed (2016) 'Patterns of Recorded Offending Behaviour Amongst Young Victorians', Crime Statistics Agency, Number 6, p. 7.

[128] ibid.

[129] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2013) 'Young people aged 10-14 in the youth justice system: 2011-12', Juvenile Justice Series No. 12, Canberra, p. 20; A. Piquero (2000) 'Assessing the relationships between gender, chronicity, seriousness, and offense skewness in criminal offending', Journal of Criminal Justice, 28; Richards (2011), op. cit.; S. Mukherjee (1997) 'Juvenile crime: Overview of changing patterns', paper presented to the Australian Institute of Criminology Conference, Adelaide, 26-27 June.

[130] F. Stewart, et al. (2016) 'Reoffending by children and young people in Victoria', Sentencing Advisory Council, Melbourne, p. 15.

[131] ibid, p. 45.

[132] ibid, p. 10.

[133] ibid, p. 10.

[134] C. Campbell, Minister for Community Services (2000) A Balanced Approach to Juvenile Justice in Victoria, Ministerial Statement, p. 3.

[135] S. Hemphill, et al. (2005) 'Predictors of violence, antisocial behaviour and relational aggression in Australian adolescents: A longitudinal study', Criminology Research Council, Canberra.

[136] Youth Parole Board (2016) Annual Report, Melbourne, p. 14.

[137] D. Weatherburn & B. Lind (1997) 'Social economic stress, child neglect and juvenile delinquency', New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney, p. 11; J. Bondy & M. Liddell (2009) Submission to the Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee, Inquiry into Strategies to Prevent High Volume Offending and Recidivism by Young People, July, Melbourne, The Committee, p. 49.

[138] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2016) 'Young people in child protection and under youth justice supervision 2014-15', Data Linkage Series No. 22, Canberra, p. 8.

[139] ibid.

[140] ibid, p. 12.

[141] White, R. & C. Cunneen (2006) 'Social class, youth crime and justice', in B. Goldson & J. Muncie (eds), Youth crime and justice: Critical issues, Sage Publications, London, p. 26.

[142] ibid, p. 9.

[143] Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (2016) 'Youth justice in Australia 2014-15', op. cit., p. 9.

[144] M. Ericson & T. Vinson (2011) op. cit., p. 54.

[145] Youthlaw (2008) Submission to the Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee, Inquiry into Strategies to Prevent High Volume Offending and Recidivism by Young People, July, Melbourne, The Committee, citing D. Weatherburn & B. Lind (1998) 'Poverty, parenting, peers and crime-prone neighbourhoods', Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 85, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.

[146] C. Campbell, Minister for Community Services (2000) op. cit., p. 3.

[147] Department of Human Services (2011) Support Services – Youth Justice, DHS, Melbourne, accessed 19 January 2017.

[148] Department of Human Services (2011) Youth Justice Community Support Service, DHS, Melbourne, accessed 19 January 2017.

[149] ibid.

[150] Jesuit Social Services (2015) 'Youth Justice Community Support Service', JSS, Melbourne, accessed 19 January 2017.

[151] Commonwealth of Australia (1991) Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody: National Report, vol. 1, 1.7.1.

[152] H. Blagg, et al. (2005) 'Systemic racism as a factor in the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the Victorian criminal justice system', report prepared for the Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria, Melbourne, pp. 7-8.

[153] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2015) 'Victoria: Youth justice supervision in 2014-15', op. cit., p. 2.

[154] ibid.

[155] ibid.

[156] P. Darby (2016) 'Victoria's Prison Population: 2005 to 2016', Sentencing Advisory Council, Melbourne, p. 13.

[157] ibid, p. 13.

[158] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2015) 'Victoria: Youth justice supervision in 2014-15', op. cit., p. 6.

[159] Youth Parole Board (2016) op. cit., p. 19.

[160] H. Blagg, et al. (2005) op. cit., p. 36.

[161] J. Joudo (2008) 'Responding to substance abuse and offending in Indigenous communities: Review of diversion programs', Research and Public Policy Series No. 88, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra, p. 6.

[162] T. Makkai & J. Payne (2003) 'Drugs and crime: A study of incarcerated male offenders', Research and Public Policy Series No. 52, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.

[163] Department of Human Services (2001) Recidivism Among Victorian Juvenile Justice Clients 1997-2001, DHS, Victoria, p. 2.

[164] M. Lynch, J. Buckman & L. Krenske (2003) 'Youth justice: Criminal trajectories', Australian Institute of Criminology, Trends & Issues in Criminal Justice,No. 265, Canberra, p. 4.

[165] S Chen et al. (2005) 'The transition from juvenile to adult criminal careers' Crime and Justice Bulletin, No. 86, New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney, p. 3

[166] ibid.

[167] Victoria Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee (2000) Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement, Department of Justice, Melbourne, p. 8.

[168] ibid, p. 5.

[169] ibid, p. 6.

[170] p. 10.

[171] Victoria Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee (2013) Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement: Phase 3, Department of Justice, Melbourne, p. 15.

[172] Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (2015) Koori Youth Justice Program, accessed 10 March 2017.

[173] A. Borowski (2010) 'Evaluating the Children's Koori Court of Victoria: Some key findings', presentation to the Australian Institute of Criminology Occasional Seminar, 15 March, p. 11.

[174] ibid, p. 6.

[175] ibid.

[176] D. Byles & T. Karp (2010) 'Sentencing in the Koori Court Division of the Magistrates' Court: A statistical report', Sentencing Advisory Council, Melbourne, p. 8.

[177] A. Borowski (2010) op. cit., p. 46.

[178] ibid.

[179] Youth Parole Board (2016) op. cit., p. 19.

[180] ibid, p. 20.

[181] ibid, p. 19.

[182] H. Fatouros (2016) op. cit., p. 14; L. Jordan & J. Farrell (2013) op. cit., p. 424.

[183] L. Buchanan & A. Jackomos (2016) 'NT footage reminds us the end result of a "tough on crime" approach to children', CCYP, Melbourne.

[184] Victorian Ombudsman (2010) Investigation into conditions at the Melbourne Youth Justice Precinct, Victorian Ombudsman Melbourne, p. 9.

[185] ibid, p. 8.

[186] ibid, p. 8.

[187] ibid, p. 38.

[188] ibid.

[189] ibid, p. 10.

[190] ibid.

[191] ibid, p. 9.

[192] ibid.

[193] ibid, p. 15.

[194] Victorian Ombudsman (2014) Ombudsman's Recommendations: Third Report on their Implementation, Victorian Ombudsman, Melbourne, p. 5.

[195] Victorian Ombudsman (2013) Investigation into children transferred from the youth justice system to the adult prison system, Victorian Ombudsman, Melbourne, p. 11.

[196] ibid.

[197] ibid, p. 3.

[198] Victorian Ombudsman (2013) Investigation into children transferred from the youth justice system to the adult prison system, Victorian Ombudsman, Melbourne, p. 11.

[199] ibid, p. 37.

[200] ibid.

[201] ibid, p. 39.

[202] ibid.

[203] Victorian Ombudsman (2017) Report on youth justice facilities at the Grevillea unit of Barwon Prison, Malmsbury and Parkville, Victorian Ombudsman, Melbourne, p. 14.

[204] G. Brown & R. Wallace (2016) 'Youth rioters facing adult jail', The Australian, 15 November, p. 5.

[205] G. Tierney, Minister for Corrections (2016) Young offenders to be put in adult prisons, media release, 17 November.

[206] J. Mikakos, Minister for Families and Children (2016) Government gazettes Grevillea Unit of Barwon Prison, media release, 29 December.

[207] Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan and Commissioner for Aboriginal Children Andrew Jackomos (2016), correspondence sent to the Hon. Jenny Mikakos MLC, Minister for Families and Children, 25 November, cited in Victorian Ombudsman (2017) Report on youth justice facilities at the Grevillea unit of Barwon Prison, Malmsbury and Parkville, Victorian Ombudsman, Melbourne, p. 26.

[208] Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan and Commissioner for Aboriginal Children Andrew Jackomos (2016), correspondence sent to the Hon. Jenny Mikakos MLC, Minister for Families and Children, 25 November, cited in Victorian Ombudsman (2017) op. cit., p. 27.

[209] Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan (2016), correspondence sent to the Hon. Jenny Mikakos MLC, Minister for Families and Children, 25 November, cited in Victorian Ombudsman (2017) op. cit., p. 27.

[210] ibid.

[211] Deputy Secretary, Operations, Christina Asquini (2016), correspondence sent to Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan, 23 December, cited in Victorian Ombudsman (2017) Report on youth justice facilities at the Grevillea unit of Barwon Prison, Malmsbury and Parkville, Victorian Ombudsman, Melbourne, p. 29.

[212] ibid. 29.

[213] Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan (2016), correspondence sent to the Hon. Jenny Mikakos MLC, Minister for Families and Children, 9 January, Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan (2016), correspondence sent to the Hon. Jenny Mikakos MLC, Minister for Families and Children, 20 January, cited in Victorian Ombudsman (2017) op. cit., pp. 31 and 33.

[214] Victorian Ombudsman (2017) op. cit., p. 41.

[215] ibid, p. 1.

[216] ibid.

[217] ibid, p. 2.

[218] Commission for Children and Young People (2017) The same four walls: Inquiry into the use of isolation, separation and lockdowns in the Victorian youth justice system, CCYP, Melbourne, p. 6.

[219] Productivity Commission (2016) op. cit., Table 16.5.

[220] ibid.

[221] Commission for Children and Young People (2017) op. cit., p. 6.

[222] ibid, p. 4.

[223] ibid, p. 64.

[224] ibid, p. 14.

[225] ibid.

[226] ibid, p. 15.

[227] ibid, p. 64.

[228] ibid.

[229] ibid, p. 54.

[230] ibid, p. 13.

[231] ibid, p. 16.

[232] ibid, p. 79.

[233] ibid.

[234] ibid, p. 79.

[235] ibid, p. 16.

[236] ibid, p. 79.

[237] ibid, p. 16.

[238] ibid, p. 85.

[239] ibid, p. 13.

[240] ibid.

[241] ibid.

[242] ibid, p. 50.

[243] ibid, p. 16.

[244] ibid.

[245] Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee (2009) op. cit., p. 282; Victorian Ombudsman (2010) op. cit., p. 13.

[246] G. Hughes (2005) 'Rough justice', The Age, 6 June, online.

[247] S. McMahon (2010) 'Jail report under wraps - Youth prison security review attacked for penny-pinching', Herald Sun, 20 August, p. 33.

[248] Victorian Ombudsman (2014) Ombudsman's Recommendations: Third Report on their Implementation, Victorian Ombudsman, Melbourne, p. 5.

[249] N. McKenzie (2017) 'Youth justice chaos: Secret report exposes chaos in state's youth justice system', The Age, 25 January, p. 1.

[250] ibid.

[251] ibid.

[252] N. Comrie (2017) Review of the Parkville Youth Justice Precinct (Stage One): Executive Summary, report prepared for the Department of Health and Human Services, Melbourne, p. 4.

[253] Legal and Social Issues Committee (2016) Terms of Reference: Inquiry into Youth Justice Centres in Victoria, Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne.

[254] B. Preiss & F. Tomazin (2017) 'Prison inquiry told of broken limbs', The Saturday Age, 18 March, p. 9.

[255] ibid.

[256] World Health Organization (2014) 'Prisons and health', WHO, Copenhagen, p. 27.

[257] C. Dierkhising, et al (2014) 'Victims behind bars: A preliminary study of abuse during juvenile incarceration and post-release social and emotional functioning', Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 20(2), p. 182, cited in T. Birckhead (2015) 'Children in isolation: The solitary confinement of youth', Wake Forest Law Review, 50, p. 10.

[258] F. Kaba, et al. (2014) 'Solitary Confinement and Risk of Self-Harm Among Jail Inmates', American Journal of Public Health, 442, pp. 444-45; T. Kupers (2008) 'What to do with the survivors? Coping with the long-term effects of isolated confinement', Criminal Justice & Behaviour, 35(8), p. 1006.

[259] World Health Organization (2014) op. cit., p. 27.

[260] T. Birckhead (2015) op. cit., p. 14.

[261] Australian Children's Commissioners and Guardians (2016) Human Rights Standards in Youth Detention Facilities in Australia: The use of Restraint, Disciplinary Regimes and Other Specified Practices, ACCG, Canberra, p. 62.

[262] World Health Organization (2014) op. cit., p. 30.

[263] S. Grassian (2006) 'Psychiatric effects of solitary confinement', Journal of Law & Policy, 22(1), p. 332.

[264] K. Reiter (2012) 'Parole, Snitch, or Die: California's Supermax Prisons and Prisoners, 1997-2007', Punishment & Society, 14(5), pp. 535-36; T. Birckhead (2015) op. cit., p. 6.

[265] P. Steinke (1991) 'Using situational factors to predict types of prison violence', Offender Rehabilitation, 17(1), p. 126.

[266] F. Porporino (1986) 'Managing violent individuals in correctional settings', Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1(2), p. 214; T. Birckhead (2015) op. cit., p. 6.

[267] Juan E. Méndez, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture, UN Doc A/66/268 (5 August 2011) [77].

[268] ibid.

[269] ibid, 66.

[270] United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, UN Doc A/RES/45/113 (14 December 1990) .

[271] American Academy of Adolescent Psychiatry (2012) 'Solitary confinement of juvenile offenders', Juvenile Justice Reform Committee, AAAP, accessed 9 February 2007.

[272] Australian Children's Commissioners and Guardians (2016) op. cit., p. 61.

[273] S. Gerathy (2016) 'Juvenile Justice: NSW to review youth detention amid detainee isolation claims', ABC, 27 October, online.

[274] ibid.

[275] Section 21.

[276] J. Maley & P. Begley (2016) 'NSW children held in 'solitary confinement', The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 October, online.

[277] ibid.

[278] J. Maley & P. Begley (2016) 'Kids self harm in custody, launch legal action against government', The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 November, online.

[279] J. Maley & P. Begley (2016) 'Kids self harm in custody, launch legal action against government', The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 November, online.

[280] ibid.

[281] Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services (2013) Banksia Hill Directed Review: Management, Staffing and Amalgamation Review Paper, OICS, Perth, p. 4.

[282] ibid.

[283] ibid.

[284] Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services (2013) Directed Review into an Incident at Banksia Hill Detention Centre on 20 January 2013, OICS, Perth, p. 60

[285] Office of the Children's Commissioner (2015) Own Initiative Investigation Report: Services Provided by the Department of Correctional Services at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre', OCC, Darwin, p. 4.

[286] Section 153.

[287] ibid, p. 31.

[288] ibid, p. 44.

[289] L. Hughes-Jones (2017) 'Don Dale was "spiralling out of control"', Australian Associated Press, 22 March, online.

[290] ibid.

[291] G. Brandis, Attorney-General (2016) Reporting date extended for Royal Commission into the protection and detention of children in the Northern Territory, media release, 16 December.

[292] M. McCormack (2016) 'Townsville: Cleveland Detention Centre youths in rooftop incident', The Courier Mail, 11 November; R. Arnold & N. Lim (2013) 'Youths damage Cleveland Youth Detention Centre at Townsville', The Courier Mail, 28 March, online.

[293] Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian (2014) Summary Investigation Report: The Use of Separation at a Queensland Youth Detention Centre, CCYPCG, Brisbane, p. 10.

[294] ibid.

[295] Youth Detention Inspectorate, Cleveland Youth Detention Centre Inspection Report: June Quarter 2012, YDI, Brisbane, pp. 6-9.

[296] Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian (2014) ibid, p. 23.

[297] ibid, p. 1.

[298] ibid, p. 27.

[299] J. Bavas (2016) 'Queensland youth detention review: Terms of reference too narrow, human rights lawyer says', ABC, 18 November, online.

[300] ibid.

[301] Amnesty International (2016) 'Secret documents reveal culture of abuse in Queensland juvenile detention', 18 August.

[302] ibid.

[303] Independent Review of Youth Detention (2016) 'Review of youth detention centres', IRYD, Brisbane.

[304] H. Fatouros (2016) op. cit., p. 2; Department of Justice (2013) op. cit., p. 2; Youth Parole Board (2016) op. cit., p. xiv; M. Ericson & T. Vinson (2010) op. cit, p. 4; Jesuit Social Services (2015) op. cit., p. 2; Victorian Ombudsman (2017) op. cit., p. 2.

[305] Department of Justice (2013) op. cit., p. 2.

[306] ibid.

[307] ibid.

[308] Youth Parole Board (2016) op. cit., p. xiv.

[309] Jesuit Social Services (2015) 'An escalating problem: Responding to the increased remand of children in Victoria', JSS, Melbourne, p. 4.

[310] Children's Court of Victoria (2015) Annual Report, Melbourne, p. 3.

[311] ibid.

[312] ibid.

[313] The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports that from 2013-14 the number of youth offenders in Victoria decreased by 14 per cent, or 2,668 offenders, from 19,691 to 17,023. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015) 4519.0 - Recorded Crime - Offenders, 2013-14: Youth Offenders, 25 February, Canberra, ABS. The number of children and young people sentenced by the Children's Court has correspondingly decreased with 3,442 in 2013, 3,110 in 2014 and 2,859 in 2015, in Stewart, et al. (2016) op. cit., p. 9.

[314] Jesuit Social Services (2015) op. cit., p. 4.

[315] Section 346(9).

[316] Children, Youth and Families Act 2005(Vic) s 345(1).

[317] United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice ("The Beijing Rules"), UN GA Res 40/33, 29 November 1985, 13.2.

[318] H. Little & T. Karp (2012) op. cit., p. 74.

[319] ibid, p. 175, citing Australian Law Reform Commission and New South Wales Law Reform Commission (2010) Family Violence – A National Legal Response, vol. 1, Report No. 114/128, ALRC and NSWLRC, Canberra, p. 974.

[320] K. Richards & L. Renshaw (2013) op. cit., p. 65; Australian Children's Commissioners and Guardians (2010) op. cit., p. 19; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) 'Children and young people at risk of social exclusion: Links between homelessness, child protection and juvenile justice', op. cit.; New South Wales Law Reform Commission (2012) Bail, Report No. 133, NSWLRC, Sydney; J. Stubbs (2010) 'Re-examining bail and remand for young people in NSW', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 43(3); K. Wong (2010) 'Bail me out: NSW young people and bail', New South Wales Youth Justice Coalition, Sydney; H. Little & T. Karp (2012) op. cit., p. 175.

[321] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) 'Children and young people at risk of social exclusion: Links between homelessness, child protection and juvenile justice', op. cit., p. 6; Jesuit Social Services (2015) op. cit., p. 4.

[322] House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (2011) Doing Time – Time for Doing: Indigenous Youth in the Criminal Justice System, June, Canberra, The Committee, p. 219; J. Wood (2008) Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW, vol. 2, Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW, Sydney, p. 559; K. Richards & L. Renshaw (2013) op. cit., p. 65.

[323] House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (2011) op. cit.

[324] Victorian Law Reform Commission (2007) Review of the Bail Act: Final Report, VLRC, Melbourne, p. 158, quoted in H. Little & T. Karp (2012) op. cit., p. 175.

[325] K. Richards & L. Renshaw (2013) op. cit., p. 65.

[326] ibid; Australian Children's Commissioners and Guardians (2016) Human Rights Standards in Youth Detention Facilities in Australia: The use of Restraint, Disciplinary Regimes and Other Specified Practices, ACCG, Canberra, p. 2; M. Ericson & T. Vinson (2011) op. cit.

[327] House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (2011) Doing Time – Time for Doing: Indigenous Youth in the Criminal Justice System, June, Canberra, The Committee; K. Richards & L. Renshaw (2013) op. cit., p. 65.

[328] Wong, K. et. al. (2010) 'Bail me out: NSW young people and bail', New South Wales Youth Justice Coalition, Sydney; K. Richards & L. Renshaw (2013) op. cit., p. 66.

[329] ibid.

[330] K. Richards & L. Renshaw (2013) op. cit., p. 99.

[331] ibid.

[332] ibid, p. 100.

[333] ibid.

[334] K. Richards & L. Renshaw (2013) op. cit., p. 13

[335] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2014) 'Youth justice in Australia 2012-13', Bulletin 120, Canberra.

[336] L. Behrendt, C. Cunneen & T. Libesman (2009) Indigenous legal relations in Australia, Melbourne, Oxford University Press.

[337] Richards, K. (2011) 'Trends in juvenile detention in Australia', Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 416, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.

[338] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2014) op. cit.

[339] C. Bond & S. Jeffries (2009) 'Does Indigeneity matter? Sentencing Indigenous offenders in South Australia's higher courts', The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 42(1).

[340] House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (2011) Doing Time – Time for Doing: Indigenous Youth in the Criminal Justice System, June, Canberra, The Committee.

[341] B. Mathieson & A. Dwyer (2016) 'Unnecessary and disproportionate: The outcomes of remand for Indigenous young people according to service providers', Journal of Children's Services, vol. 11(2), p. 4.

[342] Cunneen, C., E. Baldry, E. Brown, D. Brown, M. Schwartz & A. Steel (2013) Penal culture and hyperincarceration: the revival of the prison, England, Ashgate.

[343] M. Willis (2008) 'Reintegration of indigenous prisoners: Key findings', Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice No. 364, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.

[344] International Detention Coalition (2012) 'Captured childhood', IDC, Melbourne, p. 46.

[345] Australian Law Reform Commission (1997); E. Ogilvie & M. Lynch (2001) 'Responses to incarceration: A qualitative analysis of adolescents in juvenile detention centres', Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 12; B. Mathieson & A. Dwyer (2016) 'Unnecessary and disproportionate: The outcomes of remand for Indigenous young people according to Australian service providers', Journal of Children's Services, 11(2), p. 22; B. Holman & J. Ziedenberg (2006) 'The dangers of detention: The impact of incarcerating youth in detention and other secure facilities', the Justice Police Institute, Washington, DC.

[346] Development Services Group (2014) 'Alternatives to detention and confinement: Literature review', report prepared for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention', Washington, DC, p. 2.

[347] New South Wales Law Reform Commission (2012) Bail, Report No. 133, NSWLRC, Sydney, p. 172.

[348] P. Mazerolle & J. Sanderson (2008) op. cit., p. 10; K. Richards & L. Renshaw (2013) op. cit., p. 2.

[349] ibid.

[350] S. Ayres, et. al. (2010) 'Bail refusal and homelessness affecting remandees in New South Wales', Corrections Services, Research Publication No. 50, Sydney, p. 5.

[351] L. Jordan & J. Farrell (2013) op. cit., p. 1.

[352] Department of Justice (2013) op. cit., p. 3.

[353] Department of Justice (2013) op. cit., p. 3.

[354] Victorian Ombudsman (2010) Investigation into conditions at the Melbourne Youth Justice Precinct, Victorian Ombudsman, Melbourne, p. 9.

[355] P. Mazerolle & J. Sanderson (2008) op. cit., p. 2.

[356] Youth Parole Board (2016) op. cit., p. xiv.

[357] Australian Law Reform Commission (1997) op. cit., p. 277.

[358] N. Comrie (2017) op. cit., p. 3.

[359] Boyle, K. (2009) '"The more things change …" Bail and the incarceration of homeless young people', Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 12(3), p. 68.

[360] ibid, p. 69.

[361] Commission for Children and Young People (2017) op. cit., p. 54.

[362] M. Pakula, Attorney-General (2015) 'Second reading speech: Bail Amendment Bill 2015', Debates, Victoria, Legislative Assembly, 25 November, p. 4968.

[363] Children, Youth and Families Act 2005(Vic) s 345(1).

[364] Bail Act 1977 (Vic) s 30A(3).

[365] Bail Act 1977 (Vic) s 3B.

[366] M. Pakula, Attorney-General (2015) 'Second reading speech: Bail Amendment Bill 2015', Debates, Victoria, Legislative Assembly, 25 November, p. 4968.

[367] Australian Law Reform Commission (1997) op. cit., p. 337.

[368] Victorian Law Reform Commission (2007) Review of the Bail Act: Final Report, VLRC, Melbourne, p. 158.

[369] M. Pakula, Attorney-General (2015) op. cit., p. 4968.

[370] Youth Parole Board (2016) op. cit., p. 22.

[371] H. Fatouros (2016) op. cit., p. 2.

[372] Victorian Law Reform Commission (2007) op. cit., p. 17.

[373] Department of Human Services (2011) Central After Hours Assessment & Bail Placement Service, DHS, Melbourne, accessed 19 January 2017.

[374] K. Richards & L. Renshaw (2013) op. cit., p. 87.

[375] ibid.

[376] Victorian Law Reform Commission (2007) op. cit., p. 158.

[377] Victoria Legal Aid (2012) Submission to the Department of Justice, Discussion Paper on Improving Diversion for Young People in Victoria, Melbourne, p. 11.

[378] ibid.

[379] D. Andrews, Premier (2016) Sweeping reforms to crack down on youth crime, media release, 5 December.

[380] Youth Affairs Council Victoria (2016) 'Youth justice reforms must tackle the causes of crime', media release, 8 December.

[381] Jesuit Social Services (2014) op. cit., p. 5.

[382] Department of Human Services (2011) Youth justice fact sheet – Youth justice community support service, DHS, Melbourne.

[383] Department of Health and Human Services (2016) Terms of Reference: Review of youth support, youth diversion and youth justice services, DHHS, Melbourne, p. 1.

[384] ibid.

[385] ibid.

[386] J. Edwards (2017) 'Youth justice is not the government's fault – but it's their job to fix it', The Age, 9 January, online.

[387] D. Andrews, Premier (2016) Sweeping reforms to crack down on youth crime, op. cit.

[388] D. Andrews, Premier (2017) Building a stronger and more secure youth justice system, media release, 7 February.

[389] ibid.

[390] J. Edwards (2017) 'Werribee youth justice centre plan dropped after community protests, Government announces Cherry Creek site', ABC, 15 March, online.

[391] G. Brandis, Attorney-General (2017) Improving oversight and conditions in detention, media release, 9 January.

[392] ibid.

[393] United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, opened for signature 18 December 2002, A/RES/57/100 (entered into force 22 June 2006) article 20.

[394] Australian Human Rights Commission (2017) 'OPCAT: Improving conditions of detention', AHRC, 9 February, accessed 20 March 2017.

[395] Amnesty International (2017) 'Government commits to prevent future Don Dale', Amnesty International, 9 February.

[396] ibid.

[397] L. Cooper (2017) 'Australian Government will ratify protocol to end torture in detention centres', Huffington Post, 9 February.

[398] ibid.