Community supervision most common, but many first timers experience pre-sentence detention

Most (90%) of juveniles' sentenced supervision is spent in the community rather than in detention, but a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that almost half of young people under juvenile justice supervision for the first time, spent at least a short time in custody before being sentenced.

The report, Juvenile justice in Australia 2005-06, found that 44% of young people, including over 50% of those aged 10-13 years of age, had a period of detention (usually pre-sentence detention) in their first supervision.

Report author Ms Ingrid Johnston said the younger people were when they entered their first supervision period, the more likely they were to experience detention, and the more likely they were to re-enter juvenile justice supervision during subsequent years.

Over 40% of young people who began their first ever supervision when aged 12 years had completed at least four supervision periods by the time they were 18, compared with less than 10% for those whose initial supervision began when they were 15 years old.

During 2005-06 the total number of young people under juvenile justice supervision in Australia was 13,254, including 11,265 aged 10-17 years (the remainder were aged 18 years and over).

Around four per 1,000 young people aged 10-17 years were under community-based supervision, and around two per 1,000 had detention-based supervision at some time during the year.

Almost 65% of young people under supervision were aged 16 years or older with less than 10% aged 13 or younger.

Over 60% of young people were at least 15 years old when they had their first ever juvenile justice supervision experience.

During 2005-06, there was an average of 5,185 young people in community-based juvenile justice supervision each day (16% were female and 84% were male) and 816 young people in detention-based juvenile justice supervision (8% were female and 92% were male).

Indigenous young people make up 38% of those under juvenile justice supervision.

About 44 out of 1,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 10-17 years were under juvenile justice supervision during 2005-06 compared with about three out of 1,000 non-Indigenous young people,' said Ms Johnston.

The Juvenile Justice national minimum data set (NMDS) is a joint project between the Australasian Juvenile Justice Administrators (AJJA) and the AIHW, and provides states and territories with a common resource to consult when comparing their juvenile justice policies.

10 August 2007

Further information: Ingrid Johnston AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1047, mob. 0407 915 851

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. 61 2 6244 1032.