This report looks at the youth justice supervision history of 24,102 young people who were aged 10–17 and under supervision between 1 July 2000 and 30 June 2014. It focuses on the sequences of periods of community-based supervision and detention that young people experienced (their ‘pathways’ through supervision), including the number of periods completed and the total amount of time spent under supervision. It includes information on young people with extensive supervision histories, differences among the states and territories, and trends over time.

Data on six birth cohorts are available—for young people born between 1990–91 and 1995–96. This report builds on analyses first published in Pathways through youth justice supervision (AIHW 2014).

Young people spent a median of 10 months under supervision

  • Young people under youth justice supervision spent a median of 303 days (about 10 months) under supervision when they were aged 10–17, and completed a median of 2 periods of supervision.
  • Young people spent more time under supervision if they were male (median 314 days compared with 274 for females), Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (433 days compared with 275 for non-Indigenous young people), or first supervised at a younger age (1,413 days if first supervised aged 11 compared with 117 days for those aged 17).

Some pathways through supervision were long and complex

  • About 11% of young people had a pathway that was considered ‘extensive’—that is, it included 2 or more years of supervision and 7 or more periods. These young people accounted for about one-third (32%) of the total days of supervision, and nearly half (45%) of all supervision periods.
  • Young people with extensive pathways were more likely than those with non-extensive pathways to be male (87% compared with 79%), Indigenous (51% compared with 25%), have first entered supervision aged 10–14 (82% compared with 20%) and have been in unsentenced detention the first time they were supervised (58% compared with 37%).

Young people’s pathways varied among the states and territories

  • The most common pathway was sentenced community only (37% of young people), ranging from 8% in the Australian Capital Territory to 58% in Tasmania.
  • The total time young people spent under supervision when aged 10–17 ranged from a median of 215 days in South Australia to 374 days in Queensland.

The most common pathways were relatively similar over time

  • The top 10 pathways were similar for young people born between 1990–91 and 1995–96.
  • The median total time spent under supervision increased from 277 days for the 1990–91 cohort to 326 days for the 1995–96 cohort, while the median number of periods completed remained stable (2 periods).