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ACT Youth Justice System 2011: A Report to the ACT Legislative Assembly by the ACT Human Rights Commission

NCJ Number
Alasdair Roy; Dr. Helen Watchirs
Date Published
July 2011
547 pages
This report presents the results of an evaluation of the youth justice system in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
This report presents the results of an evaluation of the youth justice system in the ACT. The purpose of the evaluation was to investigate and report on systemic issues in relation to youth justice in the ACT. Data for this review were obtained through a variety of methods that included a review of literature, interviews with stakeholders, the use of online surveys and focus groups, and a review of government records. The review of the youth justice system was informed by three fundamental principles: adhering to human rights standards, making sure that government decisions are based on evidence of what works, and ensuring that young people have the right to express their views on decisions that affect their lives. The report is divided into three primary sections: the first section contains six chapters that examine 'big picture' issues such as human rights standards, engagement with community, and evidence-based practice; the second section contains eight chapters that examine the basic elements of a system designed to respect and protect the rights of the individual; and the third section contains one chapter the discusses issues of continued monitoring of the youth justice system. The review presents 12 key messages: 1) embed youth justice in the community; 2) identify and implement a vision; 3) develop whole-of-government coordination; 4) develop coordination across the system; 5) develop prevention and diversion programs; 6) build services around vulnerable young people; 7) support the workforce; 8) commit adequate resources; 9) support risk management not risk aversion; 10) integrate the Bimberi youth detention center into the ACT youth justice system; 11) support the idea that human rights compliance requires ongoing monitoring; and 12) encourage the development of child centered practices. Tables, figures, and appendixes