Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos officially opened a new 45-bed facility at the Malmsbury Youth Justice Precinct today and announced $1.2 million over four years to divert Aboriginal people from entering the youth justice system.
The $46 million complex – next to the current facility – features higher security and includes three new residential wings, educational and recreational space, a new visitor room and administration offices.
The Malmsbury Youth Justice Precinct rehabilitates young clients and reintegrates them into the community and employment through education programs, including TAFE courses, and health and life skills programs like drug and alcohol treatment courses and parenting programs.
The increased beds will mean clients can be accommodated in an environment best suited to their needs, achieving the best outcome for the community.
The first clients are expected to move into the new facility in the coming weeks. The centre is expected to create up to 90 new jobs for the local area.
As well as opening the new centre, the Andrews Labor Government will provide $300,000 a year over four years to fund a program to divert Aboriginal people from the youth justice system.
Aboriginal young people constitute only one per cent of Victorian teenagers aged 10-17, but make up about 13 per cent of young people under youth justice supervision.
Under the program, a mainstream Youth Support Service will work in partnership with an organisation providing a Koori Youth Justice program to provide culturally sensitive early intervention.
The Malmsbury Youth Justice Precinct houses young male offenders between 18 and 21 who have been placed on Victoria’s Dual Track system. Victoria’s unique dual track system allows adult courts to sentence young offenders aged 18-20 to serve custodial sentences in youth detention instead of adult prison.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Youth Affairs Jenny Mikakos
“Preventing vulnerable youth from entering adult prisons, and giving them a practical education, will reduce the likelihood that kids will reoffend.”
“The Andrews Labor Government is ensuring that the goal of our youth justice facilities is to get the best possible outcome for the community, including the Aboriginal community.”
Quotes attributable to Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People Andrew Jackomos
“I welcome the Minister’s announcement today. Aboriginal young people are over-represented in the youth justice system.”
“We need to address the underlying causes of this and divert them away from entering the system in the first place.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020