The Acmena juvenile justice detention centre.
The Acmena juvenile justice detention centre.

Juvie numbers drop, but indigenous still over-represented

THE number of young people in juvenile detention (jail) or otherwise under supervision has dropped in the past five years.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare research, released today, show in the five years to 2013/14 the number of people aged 10-17 under youth justice supervision on an average day dropped from 28 to 23 per 10,000.

The Youth Justice in Australia 2013/14 report found the fall was across jail and community-based orders.

But AIHW spokeswoman Justine Boland said indigenous young people remained over-represented.

"The level of over-representation of indigenous young people aged 10-17 in the youth justice system, however, has risen over the five years to 2013/14, from 13 to 15 times the non-indigenous rate," she said.

"This is because although numbers and rates have fallen overall, they have fallen faster for non-indigenous young people than for indigenous young people."

She said the study showed indigenous over-representation rose from 12 to 14 times for community-based supervision, and from 21 to 24 times for young people in jail. She said indigenous young people were on average younger than non-indigenous young people. The average age of indigenous young people under supervision was 15 and 16 compared to 16 and 17 for non-indigenous young people.

About 85% of people in the youth justice system are supervised in the community and just more than half of Australia's young people in jail were awaiting sentencing.

"Unsentenced young people are those who may have been charged with an offence and are awaiting the outcome of their court matter, or have been found or pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing," Ms Boland said.


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