Responding to new data from the Northern Territory government showing a decline in the number of children in Northern Territory youth prisons, Amnesty International Australia Indigenous Rights Manager Tammy Solonec said:
“The trend towards fewer kids being locked up in the Territory is welcome, but there are still 363 children in prison, which is 363 too many.
“Raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14 as recommended by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and investing in diversion programs and community-led solutions will reduce the number even further.
“The data is crystal clear: if you’re locked up before the age of 14, you are three times more likely to offend as an adult. We have to stop locking kids up where they get caught in the quicksand of the system.
“We should be investing in preventing young people getting trapped in the justice system rather than locking them up.”