Plans for secure, cottage-style youth justice facilities welcomed

Jesuit Social Services has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Territory Families, Dale Wakefield, of new youth justice facilities in Darwin and Alice Springs.

Jesuit Social Services CEO Julie Edwards said she was pleased to see the NT Government acting quickly and decisively to improve facilities found to be unfit by the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

“The government’s commitment to community consultation and the implementation of best practice models sets a new standard for other states and territories. It is commendable that the NT government has committed to ensuring that when young people are detained that they are accommodated appropriately with the best chance for rehabilitation; and, of course, this is ultimately the best way to make the community safer,” said Ms Edwards.

The new facility in Darwin will hold up to 30 young people in cottage-style, secure accommodation and will be close to transport and services to maintain family connection. The cottages will allow the rehabilitative needs of children to be met in small, home-like environments as opposed to prison-like institutions.

In a recent #JusticeSolutions tour of youth justice facilities across Europe and the USA, senior Jesuit Social Services staff found this approach was central in successful models of rehabilitation and crime reduction.

Jesuit Social Services General Manager Northern Territory, Jared Sharp also endorsed the plan and called on the Federal Government to commit funding to ensure the recommendation from the Royal Commission can be fully implemented.

“Minister Wakefield has really followed through on her promises to listen to the community and the experts and to implement changes that will make a real difference in the lives of young Territorians,” said Mr Sharp.

“We now call of the Federal Government to show the same leadership it showed in so decisively calling the Royal Commission, by partnering on a 50/50 basis with the NT Government to fully fund the infrastructure and program delivery needed to properly implement the findings of the Royal Commission.”

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