Falling youth detention numbers means greater over-representation of Indigenous young people
The number of young people in youth detention has fallen, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Youth detention population in Australia 2015, shows that fewer than 900 young people were in detention on an average night during the June quarter 2015. Most young people in detention were aged 10-17 (81%), with the remainder aged 18 or older.
'Just over half (54%) of young people in detention were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, said AIHW spokesperson David Braddock.
'Over the 4-year period, the level of over-representation of Indigenous young people aged 10-17 in detention increased from 19 to 26 times the rate of non-Indigenous young people.
This was primarily due to a decrease in the rate of non-Indigenous young people aged 10-17 in detention, while the Indigenous rate showed no clear trend,' Mr Braddock said.
'From the June quarter 2011 to the same time in 2015, the number of young people in detention on an average night fell from 1,027 to 885.
'In the June quarter 2015, 3.2 young people aged 10-17 per 10,000 in the Australian population were in detention-or about 1 in every 3,150 young people,' Mr Braddock said.
'This is a decrease since the June quarter 2011, when the rate in detention on an average night was 3.6 per 10,000.'
Of the 885 young people in detention, over half (55%) were unsentenced-that is, they were awaiting the outcome of their court matter or sentencing.
While the rate of those aged 10-17 in unsentenced detention remained relatively stable over the 4-year period, the rate in
sentenced detention decreased, from 1.5 per 10,000 in the June quarter 2011 to 1.2 per 10,000 in the most recent quarter.
The report also shows different patterns among the states and territories. Over the 4-year period, detention rates
increased in Queensland and the Northern Territory, showed no clear trend in Victoria, and decreased in the remaining states and territories.
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.