find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
‘Understaffing and overcrowding’ crippling youth detention centres

‘Understaffing and overcrowding’ crippling youth detention centres

Fence

The Law Institute of Victoria has called for reform to “reduce the record numbers of young people who have entered detention in recent years”.

In its submission to the parliamentary inquiry into youth justice centres in Victoria, the LIV said understaffing and the record number of young people being detained on remand are contributing to unrest in the centres.

The LIV noted that detainee numbers have spiked since changes to bail laws came into effect in 2013. At the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre in Parkville, 20 per cent of detainees on remand in 2013 jumped to 80 per cent by the end of 2016, the LIV said in a statement.

“The transience of the population increases uncertainty within the centres and can result in increased anxiety and heightened volatility among remanded youth,” said LIV president Belinda Wilson.

She added that the high proportion of unsentenced detainees is shifting the focus of youth detention from rehabilitation to “security warehousing”.

However, the LIV pointed out that overcrowding is only part of the problem. Ms Wilson said the employment of casual and inexperienced staff in youth detention centres is growing, meaning these staff may not be sufficiently qualified or experienced to deal with difficult behaviour or conflict.

“Youth justice workers have no minimum qualifications and receive just three weeks of mandatory training,” said the LIV.

The Law Institute highlighted that greater casualisation increases the risk that staff will not turn up for rostered shifts, leading to more frequent use of lockdowns and isolation and reducing the opportunities for staff and detainees to form meaningful relationships, which is important in rehabilitation.

The unrest in youth detention centres is a threat to both detainees and staff, the LIV said. It stated that “any strategy to improve youth justice centres must aim to reduce the record numbers of young people who have entered detention in recent years, particularly on remand”.  

The LIV’s submission to the inquiry included recommendations for more investment in early intervention, prevention and justice reinvestment, as well as more use of diversion and other alternatives to remand and sentencing.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

‘Understaffing and overcrowding’ crippling youth detention centres
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
07:05
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
07:00
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
07:00
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...