Source: (2009) Prepared for the Commissioner for Children and Young People WA.
The aim of this paper is to advance debate about the future of youth justice in Western Australia. The focus is on how we can improve outcomes for the small number of children who are coming into contact with the criminal justice system. It argues that youth justice practice has been allowed to drift over the past decade, principally because of lack of focus on the specific needs of young offenders due to the subordinate status of youth justice within what is essentially an adult focused correctional bureaucracy, and because of waning commitment to the principle of diversion on behalf of the police. These two phenomena are interconnected. Lack of clarity regarding the role of youth justice has led to a decline in the quality of support for children and families at risk, which has, in turn, undermined confidence within the police regarding the benefits of diversion from the system. Diversion is simply about choosing the least intrusive option when dealing with young offenders. (excerpt) Restorative justice is among the diversionary options discussed.