August 5, 2017

Building A Modern Youth Justice System

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 today 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.

Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos today 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.

Ms 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.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“This is the first comprehensive review of Victoria’s youth justice system in 17 years. It will help us build a stronger and more effective system – after four years of neglect by the former Liberal Government.”

“This investment will make our community safer by reducing recidivism, strengthening our facilities and establishing programs that work, delivered by a better equipped workforce.”

Quote attributable to former Secretary of the Department of Justice and Regulation Penny Armytage

“The Victorian youth justice system has recognised examples of contemporary thinking and best practice. By accepting these recommendations the Victorian Government will be able to build on these examples and commit to best practice across the youth justice system.”

Quote attributable to Professor James Ogloff AM

“Achieving the vision we’ve outlined will require a commitment to sustained improvement, strong leadership and a willingness to confront head-on some of the limitations of the current system.”