Jesuit Social Services is very concerned about the Victorian Government’s decision to re-gazette the Grevillea Unit at Barwon Prison as a youth detention facility after both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal have ruled against this.

“If we have come to the point where this option is all the Government has to fall back on, serious questions need to be answered about the state of youth justice overall in Victoria,” says Jesuit Social Services CEO Julie Edwards.

“Successive governments have paid scant attention to its infrastructure, staffing capacity, policy development, and service design and implementation.

“Now we have a situation where 80 per cent or more of the young people in detention are on remand – meaning they have not been convicted of an offence – which is also overwhelming these facilities. The entire system is overcrowded and appears to have ground to a halt,” says Ms Edwards.

Ms Edwards says Jesuit Social Services calls on the Victorian Government to fast track its youth justice review and findings, to ensure adequate resources are allocated to get the system functional and capable of intervening in a positive way to get young people’s lives back on track.

“Right now the Victorian Government should work with community organizations to fast track intensive bail support to get those young people on remand who don’t pose a risk to the community out of detention and start rebuilding their lives,” says Ms Edwards.