Let’s invest money into diversion and rehabilitation, not prisons
Instead of treating young offenders like adults, a just society must direct its efforts first and foremost into preventing crime. This means addressing its drivers (disadvantage, unemployment, poverty) and investing in early intervention (particularly early childhood services).
Young people in trouble must be diverted from the criminal justice system and rehabilitated through culturally appropriate supports and programs, even if supervision and accountability mechanisms are needed too. Supporting young people in their transition from custody to community is also vitally important.
If custody is truly necessary to protect the community, most experienced practitioners recommend treatment facilities with a capacity of only 15 to 20 beds, located in different regions across Australia.
You will never achieve rehabilitative goals in large, centralized and violent 250-bed facilities. Keeping young offenders who need to be in custody close to their communities, their families and their social networks is the best way to bring about positive behaviour change.