The cost of lost youth

JU­VE­NILE JUS­TICE STATS ALARM­ING

Comment News (Gosnells) - - Front Page - Jes­sica War­riner

ONE in 12 young peo­ple in Banksia Hill De­ten­tion Cen­tre from 2015 to 2016 was from Ar­madale.

In the City of Gos­nells, more than a third of high school stu­dents miss more than one month of school per year.

They are just some of the statis­tics in a new re­port from the Youth Part­ner­ship Project (YPP), which aims to change the story for young peo­ple in the area by con­nect­ing at-risk youth with the right ser­vice at the right time.

YPP’s education and jus­tice re­search shows that a quar­ter of all in­mates at Banksia Hill are from the south­east­ern cor­ri­dor of Perth and de­spite high ex­pen­di­ture on cor­rec­tive ser­vices, one in two of these de­tained young peo­ple re­turn to the jus­tice sys­tem within two years.

“Just to­day, to­day alone, we’ve spent $130,000 on lock­ing up West­ern Aus­tralian young peo­ple,” Karina Chicote, YPP man­ager and Place-Based Strate­gies for Save the Chil­dren Aus­tralia man­ager said at the re­port launch.

“And we will spend that to­mor­row and the day af­ter, un­til by the end of this year, we would have spent $48 mil­lion just on lock­ing up young peo­ple.

“What we are do­ing isn’t quite work­ing.”

Ms Chicote said the fig­ures in­di­cated the cur­rent sys­tem was flawed but the data showed youth at risk could be iden­ti­fied and as­sisted.

“We know that we can pre­dict the next young peo­ple who are go­ing to end up in our de­ten­tion cen­tres,” Ms Chicote said.

“The fact that we can pre­dict that is not good enough. If you can pre­dict who they’re go­ing to be, then surely to­gether, we can ac­tu­ally pre­vent that path.”

The YPP, steered by Save the Chil­dren Aus­tralia, es­tab­lished the Ar­madale Youth In­ter­ven­tion Part­ner­ship (AYIP) to as­sist young peo­ple at risk of of­fend­ing in the area with early, tar­geted sup­port.

Lo­cal broth­ers Jake and Brody par­tic­i­pated in the 2016 AYIP Jan­uary School Hol­i­day Pro­gram, and have since been named the City of Ar­madale’s Young Cit­i­zens of the Year and re­turned to the pro­gram to be­come men­tors.

Burt MP Matt Keogh told Com­ment News AYIP was cru­cial proof that sim­i­lar pro­grams could work.

“We can change the story of the re­sults we’re see­ing, of too many young peo­ple go­ing into ju­ve­nile de­ten­tion again and again, in­stead of get­ting their lives on track,” Mr Keogh said.

“I re­ally hope that the im­pact of this re­port is that it pro­vides gov­ern­ment with the nec­es­sary ev­i­dence to say fund­ing these pro­grams, and in­deed ex­pand­ing them, is wor­thy, and you’ll get the ben­e­fit not just for the in­di­vid­ual, not just for the com­mu­nity, but also to the bud­get bot­tom line.”

Just to­day to­day, alone, we’ve spent $130,000 on lock­ing up West Aus­tralian young peo­ple. What we are do­ing isn’t quite work­ing Karina Chicote, YPP man­ager

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