Friday 27 January 2017
There have been some significant and concerning incidents in recent months at youth justice centres in Victoria, and we note today's announcement that Corrections Victoria staff will be brought in to run youth justice centres at Parkville and Malmsbury.
It has been a long standing and accepted feature of our justice system that we need a separate and distinct approach to working with children and young people who offend. This is due to the very different needs of children and young people and the greater likelihood they can be rehabilitated, preventing further offending.
There is also strong evidence that excessively harsh and restrictive approaches to young offenders do not work; instead these approaches increase negative behaviour by children and young people, compound the drivers of their offending and set them up for a life of crime.
We are dismayed the system is in such disarray that the best apparent means of keeping children, young people and staff safe is to rely on staff trained in the adult corrections system. That this is happening is a sad indictment on the way our youth justice system has been run over successive governments and the recruitment of, and training and support provided to, youth justice staff.
We will be seeking briefings on the proposal to increase use of weapons, and on training to be provided to Corrections Victoria staff commencing as youth justice workers. The Commission will monitor the impact of these changes closely. As Commissioners we will be urging the Victorian Government to ensure this is a temporary move to improve safety as Government works to re-establish a safe, settled, age appropriate and genuinely rehabilitative model for youth justice custody in Victoria.
Luis Gonzalez, CCYP Communications and Media Adviser
T: 8601 5293
M: 0425 871 816