Therapeutic approach to youth justice reforms
23 November 2022
The Tasmanian Government is committed to establishing new facilities as part of a reform of the entire Youth Justice System.
Young people who enter our Youth Justice System need therapeutic responses that address their developmental needs and their past trauma, and return them to the community as positive members of society.
As part of ongoing efforts to ensure the wellbeing of young people in custody, the Tasmanian Government is releasing the Keeping Kids Safe – A plan for Ashley Youth Detention Centre until its intended closure. The plan details the completed actions and work underway to ensure the safety of young people in Ashley while we develop alternatives.
The Minister is also releasing the final draft of our Youth Justice Blueprint 2022-2032, which has been developed in consultation with key stakeholders over the past 12 months and will set the strategic directions over the next 10 years.
The Blueprint aims to improve the wellbeing of children, young people and their families while addressing the underlying drivers of offending behaviour, reducing offending and improving community safety.
To achieve this, the Blueprint focuses on five key strategies:
- Prioritise prevention and early intervention to reduce engagement with the youth justice system;
- Ensure diversion from the justice system is early and lasting;
- Establish a therapeutically based criminal justice response;
- Integrate and connect whole of government and community service systems; and
- Provide an appropriately trained and supported therapeutic workforce.
The first two-year action plan to implement the Blueprint is being finalised, with a focus on immediate, short-term priorities, including responding to matters raised in the Commission of Inquiry and raising the minimum age of detention from 10 to 14 years.
The reforms to youth justice will be supported by a suite of new facilities to replace the Ashley Youth Detention Centre. The Proposed Youth Justice Facilities Model, which the Minister has also released, outlines a nation-leading response including assisted bail, secure custody and support for young people transitioning back into the community.
These elements will be delivered through new, purpose-built facilities, including:
- One detention/remand centre, located in the South;
- Two assisted bail facilities, one in the North or North West and one in the South; and
- Two supported residential facilities, one in the North or North West and one in the South.
A state-wide facility, the southern detention/remand centre will provide the opportunity for intensive intervention and rehabilitation through a therapeutic model of care.
This facility will be limited to young people over the age of 14 with exceptions for those who commit the most serious crimes.
The assisted bail facilities aim to reduce the number of young people remanded to a detention centre by providing safe, stable accommodation together with assistance in managing their bail conditions and support to address their underlying needs.
We are also taking an innovative approach to supporting transition for young people from detention to independence with our two supported residential centres.
The aim of these facilities will be to reduce the number of young people reoffending by engaging young people in education or the workforce and supporting them with suitable long-term accommodation and access to health and other services
The Tasmanian Government is determined to build a nation-leading approach that engages at-risk young people early, directs them away from the youth justice system and supports young people who come into conflict with the law to become valued and productive members of our community.
For more information, visit https://www.decyp.tas.gov.au/children/youth-justice-services/youth-justice-reform/