Youth Justice Report
28 September 2009 at 3:24 pm
A Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) report details obsessive police monitoring of young people and a detention system that exacerbates high costs and poor outcomes for youth justice across New South Wales.
The report, Bail Me Out: NSW Young Offenders and Bail, details the experiences of 145 young people arrested and bailed. It describes a revolving door where young people are detained for petty breaches of bail conditions and where young girls are particularly disadvantaged.
Nearly 10 percent of the young people granted bail remained in detention because they could not meet their bail conditions.
The report says this was usually because they did not have suitable accommodation or support from welfare or health services. Girls in the 12 to 14 year age group were the most likely to remain in detention for this reason.
Jenny Bargen, a YJC spokesperson says there is no evidence that this approach of obsessive monitoring by police and repeated stays in detention does anything but further damage to young people and increases the social and financial costs to the community.
The YJC report found that:
* Most bail conditions are unrelated to the nature or seriousness of the alleged offence;
* A majority of young people surveyed were granted bail with conditions that in some cases were contradictory and impracticable;
* Young people who have been granted conditional bail are remaining in detention because they are homeless.
The report also examined case studies of young people arrested for breaches of bail conditions such as getting home 20 minutes later than specified and being in the company of an aunt rather than a parent.
Bargen called on the NSW Government to act on the report’s recommendations. She says the provision of suitable accommodation, for example, would help reduce the number of young people who spend time locked up on remand.
The report is available at www.yjconline.net