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Most young people under juvenile justice supervision are supervised in the community, not in detention, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Juvenile justice in Australia 2009-10, shows that of the 7,250 young people under supervision on an average day in 2009–10, 86% of young people in the juvenile justice system are under supervision in the community, with the remainder held in detention.

Community-based supervision was more common than detention in all states and territories, but the comparative use of the two types of supervision differed markedly.

‘This reflects the different legislation, policies and practices in each of the states and territories,’ said AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard.

Just 0.3% of young Australians (5,870 young people aged 10–17 years) were under supervision on any given day in 2009–10.

Most of those under supervision were young men: on an average day, 83% of those under community based supervision and 92% of those in detention were male.

Although Indigenous Australians only make up 5% of young people, over one-third (38%) of those under supervision were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

‘Indigenous young people were particularly over-represented in detention,’ Mr Beard said. ‘Almost half (49%) of those in detention on an average day were Indigenous.’

One reason for this over-representation is that Indigenous young people spend more time under supervision.

‘Indigenous young people spent 4 more days under community-based supervision during the year than their non-Indigenous counterparts, and they spent 2.5 more weeks in detention,’ Mr Beard said.

Indigenous young people were also more likely to have a supervision history involving detention. While almost half of non-Indigenous young men (46%) and young women (49%) under supervision during 2009–10 had never been detained, this was true for only 32% of Indigenous young men and 42% of Indigenous young women.

A companion summary report, Juvenile justice in Australia 2009-10: an overview, is also available.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 21 October 2011

Further information: Mr Tim Beard, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1270, mob. 0407 915 851

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer 02 6244 1032

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