Youth Justice Services

Youth Justice Services (YJS) are responsible for the safety, security and rehabilitation of young offenders.

Youth Justice Services focuses on providing programs and services to help:

  • supervise and rehabilitate young people in our custody
  • support young people on orders in the community
  • divert young people away from the criminal justice system.

Young people in detention

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The Department of Justice manages one custodial facility for young people aged between 10 and 17 years at Banksia Hill Detention Centre.

This facility is managed by the Women and Young People Directorate. In accordance with the Young Offenders Act 1994, young people should only go into detention as a last resort or when the offence they have committed is extremely serious.

Whilst in custody young people will have access to a range of supports from Youth Custodial staff and support services including: Aboriginal Welfare Officers, Aboriginal Visitors Scheme, Case Planning, Chaplains, Education, Medical, Mental Health Nurse, Psychologists, Program Providers, Youth Justice Officers and contracted external support services. These services work collaboratively in an effort to best- support a young person’s physical needs in addition to their emotional well-being, life-skills and rehabilitation with the aim of reducing further offending and supporting their seamless transition back into the community.

Young people also have access to official visits in addition to social visits. Family members and friends are encouraged to maintain contact through phone calls, e-visits and in person visits. Inter-prison video links and phone calls can also be arranged to enable young people who have close family members in custody maintain contact.

Prevention and diversion

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Many young people start to show anti-social behaviour as they enter their teenage years. This can be a one-off incident, a 'stage' they go through because they are influenced by peers, or the start of a longer-term pattern of offending.

The Department of Corrective Services offers help and advice for families with young people showing this behaviour. Depending upon the level of anti-social and offending behaviour, services may be accessed by these young people and their families, including:

Juvenile Justice Teams

Juvenile Justice Teams (JJTs) are an alternative way to encourage young people to face up to problems and divert them from the courts.

JJTs make sure young people are held accountable for their offending behaviour. Referrals are generated by police or the Children's Court. JJTs arrange meetings with the young person, their families, victims and police to find out the best way a young person can make up for their offence. This is called an action plan. If a young person successfully completes the action plan they will not receive a criminal record.

JJTs may also offer a court conferencing service for young people with more serious offending backgrounds to encourage them to start an action plan before being sentenced to show their willingness and ability to change their behaviour. Referrals to Court Conferencing are only made by the Children's Court and there usually needs to be a known victim willing to participate in the process.

Structured Day

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When young people enter Banksia Hill they are provided with opportunities to engage in education, recreation and programs in accordance with community standards. This is commonly referred to as the Structured Day.

Young people aged 17 and under are required to attend school Monday to Friday. Those above school age can either continue their studies or take part in post compulsory activities designed to improve their employment skills.

Young people will also have the opportunity to engage in a wide range of programs designed to address the contributing factors to their offending (also known as criminogenic needs), life skills, emotional well-being and rehabilitation in addition to recreation. These programs include but are not limited to: Army Cadets, Emergency Services Cadets, barista training, hip hop classes, AFL, rugby, basketball, mental health awareness, sexual health, offence specific counselling, substance use and healthy relationships.

The structured day and programs and services delivered at Banksia Hill Detention Centre are aimed at developing and enhancing a young person’s skills set, promoting responsible citizenship, reducing the likelihood of offending and enabling young people to lead law abiding and positive lives in the community.

Regional Youth Justice Services

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The Regional Youth Justice Services model was developed to divert young people from the criminal justice system and support them and their families to make positive choices.

Regional Youth Justice Services aim to divert young people from the criminal justice system and support them and their families to make positive life choices.

Regional Youth Justice Services currently operate in the Goldfields, Mid-West Gascoyne, West Kimberley, East Kimberley and the Pilbara regions.

Regional Youth Justice Services offer:

  • supervision and support of young people on community orders
  • management of young people on Juvenile Justice Team referrals
  • an extended-hours bail service to help police find a responsible adult to provide bail for young people who are eligible for bail
  • a youth bail service that provides limited short-term supervised accommodation as a last resort to custody for young people who have been given bail but have no-one to bail them and nowhere to go
  • psychological support.
Page reviewed 28 May 2021