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A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found that the likelihood of young people returning to sentenced youth justice supervision was highest among those released from detention.

In Australia, young people who have been proven guilty of an offence may be given an unsupervised community-based sentence, a supervised community-based sentence or a sentence of detention. The latter two types of sentences are known as supervised sentences. Young people sentenced to detention are likely to have committed a more serious offence or committed more previous offences than those sentenced to community-based supervision.

The report, Young people returning to sentenced youth justice supervision 2015, considered a group of about 3,000 young people who were aged 10-16 upon release from sentenced supervision in 2012-13.

'We found that 76% of those released from sentenced detention in 2012-13 returned to some form of sentenced supervision within the following 12 month period ,' said AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard.

'In contrast, only 44% of those released after serving their sentence in the community returned during the same time period.'

Youth justice departments provide young people serving supervised sentences with services designed to reduce the frequency and seriousness of their offending.

'The rate of return to sentenced supervision is an indicator of the effectiveness of these services, although factors beyond their control will also impact on the level of reoffending and return to sentenced supervision,' Mr Beard said.

The report also found that young people released from sentenced detention were more likely to return with a sentence of detention. Of those who returned to sentenced supervision within 12 months, those released from sentenced detention were 3 times as likely to have another sentence of detention as those released from sentenced community-based supervision.

The report also looks at a second group of young people-those who were now aged 18 and older and had completed all possible youth justice supervision.

'Interestingly, when looking at this group, we see that among this relatively small cohort of young people whose first supervised sentence was detention, 29% went on to serve five or more supervised sentences before the age of 18,' Mr Beard said.

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, 24 July 2015

Further information: Mr Tim Beard, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1270, mob. 0418 271 395

Full publication: Young people returning to sentenced youth justice supervision 2015