Transition plan released for Youth Justice Reform

Sarah Courtney,Minister for Children and Youth

The safety and wellbeing of our young people is the highest priority for the Tasmanian Government, and there is nothing more important than ensuring those who are vulnerable or at risk have the support they need.

The Government is moving forward with our vision for the Youth Justice System in Tasmania, and today I am releasing the transition plan detailing the steps to reform our Youth Justice System over the next three years.

This reform is about ensuring that we have the best possible service system to respond to young people at risk, young people in conflict with the law and, importantly, young people who may be sent to custody by the courts.

The Transition Plan includes three key components:

1. The development of our Youth Justice Blueprint that will set the strategic direction for the whole Youth Justice System over the next 10 years;

2. Establishing a process for developing and supporting our Youth Justice Workforce, including current staff at Ashley and other staff right across our youth justice sector; and

3. Transitioning away from the Ashley Youth Detention Centre and the construction of two new, fit for purpose, custodial youth justice facilities – one in the north and one in the south.

To progress the transition plan we are standing up a Youth Justice Reform Steering Committee with an independent chair as well as a project team, with the recruitment underway.

Today, I am also releasing a discussion paper for consultation that will inform the development of our Youth Justice Blueprint, with stakeholders encouraged to provide feedback on the reform of our system.

Specifically we want to hear from a broad range of stakeholders on how we can build a new approach to youth justice that intervenes early to address the complex factors that lead to youth crime; emphasises early intervention and diversion strategies; and responds to young people who come in conflict with the law.

There is no doubt that there are many challenges in youth justice which go back decades, but the Government is committed to reform and won’t shy away from the change that is needed.

We want the voices of young people to be clearly heard as we develop our new approach, and we will seek the views of staff currently working in the sector, particularly those working at the Ashley Youth Detention Centre.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts staff have made toward a new Ashley which has a therapeutic approach that meets the needs of young people while also keeping the community safe.

The Blueprint discussion paper will be open for consultation on the Communities Tasmania website from today until 28 February.

As Minister for Children and Youth, it is my privilege to lead this important reform on behalf of the Tasmanian Government to support our young people to overcome the challenges they face, reach their potential and lead fulfilling and productive lives.

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