An illustration of a young boy in a prison cell

Latest figures prove locking up kids doesn’t work

In response to figures released by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. (Young people returning to sentenced youth justice supervision 2017–18) Joel Clark, Indigenous Rights Advocate said:

“The figures released today are yet more evidence that keeping kids locked up doesn’t work. It is shocking that four out of five kids released from sentenced detention are back inside again within twelve months, and is proof that the system is broken.

“We are setting these kids up for failure, especially Indigenous kids who are woefully over represented. Previous incarceration is among the most significant reasons that Indigenous people are out of the labour force. By keeping kids in prison we set them on the wrong path for the rest of their life.

“Instead of trapping these kids in the quicksand of the system, we must invest in keeping them out of jail in the first place. Programs that provide the care and support kids need to grow up strong and healthy, not behind bars, are the clear alternative for Indigenous children in the community. The government needs to support Indigenous leaders and ensure they get the funding they need to ensure a positive future for these kids.

“Australia is lagging far behind the rest of the world in locking up little children as young as 10 years old .Research shows that children’s brains are still developing, especially the parts that regulate judgement, decision-making and impulse control. Children are not able to foresee the consequences of any action, and cannot fully understand the criminal nature of their behaviour.

“The government must also immediately raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14”.