Building a modern youth justice system

Melbourne: The Andrews Labor Government is building a strong and stable youth justice system by recruiting more staff, providing better training and offering more targeted programs to reduce the risk of re-offending.

The Labor Government on Aug 5 released the first comprehensive independent review of Victoria’s youth justice system in 17 years to help strengthen and modernise Victoria’s youth justice system.

Commissioned in mid-2016, the review – Meeting needs and reducing offending: Youth Justice review and strategy – is part of the government’s work to reform Victoria’s youth justice system for the future, an official press release said.

Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos also announced an initial investment of $50 million over four years to respond to the review’s priority recommendations.

The Government accepts or accepts in principle all of the review’s 126 recommendations. The initial investment will directly address 42 of the recommendations, with work on another 63 already underway.

The investment will support:

* A new custodial operating model to better manage young people in custody

* Greater workforce capability by providing better training and a targeted recruitment campaign

* 21 additional Safety and Emergency Response Team (SERT) staff

* A new risk and needs assessment system to reduce the risk of re-offending

* Addressing Aboriginal over-representation by employing an additional Aboriginal Liaison Officer

The review builds on legislation to toughen consequences for young offenders and our record investment in youth justice, including a new fit-for-purpose youth justice facility to be built at Cherry Creek.

Mikakos thanked the expert reviewers: Penny Armytage – former Corrections Commissioner and former Secretary of the Department of Justice and Regulation – and Professor James Ogloff AM who is Director of the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science at Swinburne University and Forensicare.