A positive step for youth justice in Victoria?

Announced on Friday’s public holiday in Victoria, was the decision by Minister for Corrections and Youth Justice, Ben Carroll to modify the design of the Youth Super Max jail for young people at Cherry Creek,  located 11 km away from Werribee train station.

The decision was informed ‘by international best practice, feedback from independent experts including the Youth Justice Custodial Facilities Working Group, and recommendations from the Armytage/Ogloff and Neil Comrie AO reviews’.

According to the media release, the jail will include 140 beds for 15 to 18 year olds and will be ‘master planned’ for up to 244 beds’. This in in contrast to the original facility plan published in July 2019, which was ‘master planned for up to 300 beds’.

Jesuit Social Services chief executive Julie Edwards referred to the decision as a ‘step in the right direction’:

We know that large-scale detention facilities do not serve the purpose of rehabilitating and re-socialising young people ahead of their return to the community. This has been proven in jurisdictions around the world.

Today, Commissioner for Children and Young People, Liana Buchanan told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell that she welcomes the announcement:

“They’ve listened to the advice of experts, and ultimately they’re going to do what’s better for the children and young people in there, for their prospects of rehabilitation, and ultimately for community safety’.

“If you have a facility where you can separate out kids, where you can have them accommodated in smaller units and you can actually make sure that you’re delivering the services that those kids need to help them change, surely that’s got to be better,” she said.

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Peter Norden speaking at our network launch in 2018, calling for a re-purposing of Cherry Creek.

 

What are your views on the decision?

Leave your comments below.

3 thoughts on “A positive step for youth justice in Victoria?”

  1. This is an important FIRST STEP. It will be wise to confirm this initial decision POSITIVELY, but critical to now follow up with the Minister, with a view to the facility being used for 18-25 year old offenders, not Children’s Court clients. The window of opportunity will only remain for a few weeks, so important to follow up with concerted action, with a view to localised, small units close to the families of prospective Children’s Court clients.
    Peter Norden

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    1. In addition to my earlier response, I believe it will be really important to meet asap with David Southwick, who is currently attacking the position. This meeting should involve SEVERAL representatives with a view to getting him aligned in some way. Currently he is undermining any efforts to bring about change
      Knowing him, I believe that he is open to being engaged (and wary of being publicly attacked).
      While the Minister’s announcement can be seen as positive, it may not lead any further unless there is immediate action in response from the network.

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