Territory Stories

The Centralian advocate Fri 15 Jul 2011



The Centralian advocate Fri 15 Jul 2011


Centralian Advocate; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.) -- Newspapers.; Australia, Central -- Newspapers

Publisher name

Nationwide News Pty. Limited

Place of publication

Alice Springs


v. 64 no. 16

File type



Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

Copyright owner

Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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8 Centralian Advocate, Friday, July 15, 2011 P U B : C A D V D A T E : 1 5 -J U L -2 0 1 1 P A G E : 8 C O L O R : C M Y K Exercise Books Education Tax Refund Now includes school uniforms purchased from 1 July 2011 Stationery Educational Software Printers Laptops Text Books Paper-based Learning Materials Stationery School Shirts School Shoes australia.gov.au/educationtaxrefund The Australian Government is helping with the cost of educating your kids. The Education Tax Refund provides up to 50% back on a range of educational expenses. And now, school-approved uniforms, purchased from 1 July 2011, are included. Items of clothing including hats, footwear and sports uniforms approved by your childs school as its uniform may be claimed in next years refund. To check your eligibility and see what may be claimed, visit the website. And remember to keep all your receipts for tax time. Internet Connection USB Flash Drives Reference Books Desktop Computers Winter Uniforms Summer Uniforms Sports Uniforms School uniforms purchased from 1 July 2011 E T R 1 1 2 /C 8 Advertisement Authorised by the Australian Government, Capital Hill, Canberra NEWS Youth justice balance vital Sally Brooks We have a growing youth population, so it is critical that we get it right S UBMISSIONS for an independent review of the youth just ice system close today. The review was announced in March and aims to find ways to help reduce youth crime. T h e r e v i e w s chairwoman is lawyer and former Opposition MLA Jodeen Carney. Ms Carney is respon sible for providing a report on the system to the Attorney General later this year. She said: Im absolutely focussed on giving the Government an evidence-based report, though collecting the data is a real challenge. Im looking at publications in this country and internationally. I consider everything that is put to me and I make decisions about what is put to the Attorney General. Its important to get the balance right between punishing offenders, being compassionate with young people and being mindful of community expectations. The peak body for youth justice in Central Australia, the Central Australian Youth Just ice Committee is one of the organisations making a submission to the review. CAYJC chairman Jonathan Pilbrow said their submission explains how the practice of locking people up is costing a fortune. He said: The current Youth Justice Act and best practice stipulate that custody should always be a last resort and should occur for the shortest time possible. Locking young people up is very expensive, costing more than $100,000 just to keep one young person in custody for a year. This type of money could be much better spent on early inter vention, prevention and support programs which keep young people out of detention in the first place. The CAYJC submission also emphasises the need for the development of a court for young offenders. There are a number of areas which require investment to ensure b e s t p r a c t i c e approaches to working with young people so we can help break the cycle of offending. A very clear need is for the establishment of a separate court for all Youth Justice matters, and processes that ensure young peoples matters are separated from adult proceedings. Young people must be treated as young people and have processes in place that are appropriate for them. The NT Youth Justice Act supports this separation of young peoples matters, and we now have a real opportunity to make it happen. A separate youthfocused court would allow processes to be put in place to improve the speed with which young peoples matters are heard and to minimise the time young people spend in court. A n unusual amount of c r i m e o c curred in Al ice Springs between November 2010 and February 2011 and sparked a vigorous debate on youth justice in the local community. The Territory Action Group, previously called Action For Alice, was formed earlier this year in response to the increase in crime and anti-social behaviour. At a community meeting in March the group called for a zero tolerance policy on crime. But spokesman for the group Geoff Booth confirmed TAG has not contributed a submission to the review, and the group had no further comments. Alice Springs youth justice experts said the critical point the community needed to understand was that putting young people in jail did not make the community safer or stop young people from reoffending. Antoinette Carroll, a d v o c a c y s u p p o r t worker with the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, has worked with young offenders for 12 years. She said: It is a really terrible thing to be a victim of crime, but what we as a community need to understand is that locking young people up doesnt make the community safer. The belief that locking up young people makes the community safer is wrong. It is important that as a community we are presented with other solutions to decreasing the current crime rates in Alice Springs. We have a growing youth population, so it is critical that we get it right in terms of alternatives to detention. The spate of crime from November 2010 to March this year was conducted by recidivist offenders young people who had already spent time in detention. It is crucial that the Government focuses on the core of recommendations to the review which are cost-effective mechanisms aimed at preventing crime. Those involved are expressing a combination of ideas for solutions to the issue. Ms Carroll said: Getting young people to take responsibility for their actions and to get them to restore the damage theyve done to their community by meeting their victims in a safe place has been deemed a very effective measure. Ms Carney said: While there will always be a small number of young people who need to be incarcerated because of the offences theyve committed as the risk of keeping them out of detention makes it a sensible option. Its in their interest, and the communitys, that they are not incarcerated and that they live healthy, happy lives. T he topic of indigenous youth in the criminal justice system has also been the focus of a national inquiry. In June the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs published a report of its inquiry into the high level of involvement of indigenous juveniles and young adults in the criminal justice system called Doing Time Time For Doing: Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system. The Committee received 110 submissions, conducted 18 public hearings and visited three juvenile justice centres. The findings confirm t h a t t h e o v e r representation of indigenous juveniles and young adults is a national problem and putting young offenders in jail is not working. The report states: The Committee was concerned to find the over-representation of indigenous juveniles and young adults is worse than it was 20 years ago. This escalating problem has reached a crisis point and the Committee made 40 recommendations. These recommendations include: Improving the transition for education to the workforce and alternative sentencing options and pre-court conferencing.