Youth Justice

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16th September 2009, 04:20pm - Views: 454





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A coalition of youth, legal and welfare workers

MEDIA RELEASE

16 September 2009


YOUTH JUSTICE: IS IT WASTED ON THE YOUNG?


A Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) report released today details obsessive police monitoring of

young people and a detention system that exacerbates high costs and poor outcomes for

youth justice across New South Wales.  


The report, ‘Bail Me Out: NSW Young Offenders and Bail’, details the experiences of 145

young people arrested and bailed. It describes a revolving door where young people are

detained for petty breaches of bail conditions and where young girls are particularly

disadvantaged. 


Nearly 10 percent of the young people granted bail remained in detention because they could

not meet their bail conditions. This was usually because they did not have suitable

accommodation or support from welfare or health services. Girls in the 12 to 14 year age group

were the most likely to remain in detention for this reason.


Ms Jenny Bargen, a YJC spokesperson said: ‘there is no evidence that this approach of

obsessive monitoring by police and repeated stays in detention does anything but further

damage to young people and increases the social and financial costs to the community.’


The YJC report found that:

 


Most bail conditions are unrelated to the nature or seriousness of the alleged offence;



A majority of young people surveyed were granted bail with conditions that in some

cases were contradictory and impracticable;



Young people who have been granted conditional bail are remaining in detention

because they are homeless.


The report also examined case studies of young people arrested for breaches of bail

conditions such as getting home 20 minutes later than specified and being in the company of

an aunt rather than a parent.


Ms Bargen today called on the NSW Government to act on the report’s recommendations. She

said the provision of suitable accommodation, for example, would help reduce the number of

young people who spend time locked up on remand.

 

‘We need to value our young Australians and provide them with the best possible start in their

journey to responsible citizenship. This report shows we could do better than starting them off

early on an expensive and unproductive pathway with negative long term outcomes.’


Further comment: Jenny Bargen: 0417 246 595



Bailey at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre: brenda@piac.asn.au, 02 8898 6522. 

c/338 Illawarra Rd Marrickville NSW 2204 ph 02 99592899 fx 02 9558 5213






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