Youth offending has fallen across most jurisdictions over the past decade, in step with crime in general in Australia. However, young people entering the youth justice system are a vulnerable population group who are likely to have a number of complex needs and come from challenging backgrounds including dysfunctional family environments, unstable accommodation or homelessness, socio-economic disadvantage and poverty. This group is also more likely to be struggling with alcohol and substance misuse, mental health issues, cognitive disabilities, childhood abuse and neglect, and disrupted education.
This book examines the latest youth crime data and explores key issues that have been the focus of youth justice system inquiries in recent years including: tough-on-crime policies aimed at young people; the detrimental impacts of detention; Indigenous over-representation; raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years of age; detention as a last resort and the diversionary alternatives; and improving programs in youth justice detention. Is ‘doing the time for the crime’ real justice when it comes to children and young people?