Overview

The youth justice system is the set of processes and practices for managing children and young people who have committed, or allegedly committed, an offence. In Australia, it deals primarily with young people aged 10–17 at the time of the offence, although there are some variations among the states and territories. A major component of the system is the supervision of young people in the community or in detention.

More reports and statistics on youth justice can be found under Children & youth and Prisoners.

Latest findings

The detention rate for young people aged 10–17 was down slightly over the 4-year period from 3.3 to 2.6 per 10,000 Indigenous young people aged 10–17 made up 50% of those under youth justice supervision. On an average night in the June quarter 2020, 91% of young people in detention were male On an average day in 2018–19, 5,694 young people aged 10 and over were under youth justice supervision. Indigenous young people were more likely than non-Indigenous young people to return to sentenced supervision 40% of those whose first sentence was community-based returned to sentenced supervision before turning 18 Of young people under supervision on an average day, 84% were supervised in the community and 17% were in detention. On an average night in the June quarter 2020, 798 young people were in detention 80% of those released from sentenced detention in 2017–18 returned to supervision within 12 months Most (80%) young people in detention were aged 10–17, the remainder (20%) were aged 18 and older 57% of those released from community-based supervision in 2017–18 returned within 12 months 51% of young people whose first sentence was detention returned to sentenced supervision before turning 18 Individual periods of supervision that were completed during 2018–19 lasted for a median of 132 days (over 4 months). 63% of young people in detention were unsentenced—that is, awaiting the outcome of their legal matter or sentencing. 64% of young people in detention on an average night in the June quarter 2020 were unsentenced 48% of all young people in detention on an average night in the June quarter 2020 were Indigenous 95% of young people who returned to sentenced supervision received a community-based sentence first Young people who received a detention sentence were the most likely to return to sentenced supervision

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