Introduction • In Australia: • young people who are charged with or proven guilty of criminal offences may be supervised by S/T youth justice agencies, either in the community or in detention • youth justice is the responsibility of S/T governments. Variations among the S/T in the numbers and rates of young people in detention can reflect differences in youth justice legislation, policy and practice, such as differences in police practices, the range of legal orders available and the options for diversion.
Youth detention age limits • children under the age of 10 cannot be charged with a criminal offence • the upper age limit in the youth justice system is 17 (16 in Qld) • however, young people aged 18 or older may be under supervision for a number of reasons, including their age at the time of the offence, the continuation of supervision once they turn 18, and their vulnerability or immaturity
Detention data set • Based on: • data for the period April 2009 to June 2012 from the Juvenile Justice National Minimum Data Set (JJ NMDS) (excluding WA and the NT*) • data for the period from July 2012 to June 2013 on the number of young people in detention at midnight at the end of each month (supplied by each S/T)
Legal status • Young people may be detained while they are: • unsentenced (ie. while awaiting the outcome of their court matter, or while awaiting sentencing after being found or pleading guilty) • sentenced (ie. when they have been proven guilty in court and received a legal order to serve a period of detention)
Interpretation of trends The number of young people in detention on an average night is relatively small, therefore trends should be interpreted with caution, particularly where they relate to small populations.