ACT Government should do more to track youth recidivism

The ACT Government should establish a system to record the number of children who serve a custodial sentence at an adult prison after doing time at Bimberi Youth Detention Centre, Shadow Minister for Families, Youth and Community Services Elizabeth Kikkert said today.

Questioning from the Canberra Liberals revealed the ACT Government does not keep a record of the number of youth detainees who go on to serve a custodial sentence at the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

“Recidivism is a key indicator of the effectiveness of juvenile justice interventions,” Mrs Kikkert said.

“Currently, the Labor-Greens Government has no way to track children who reoffend and go on to serve a custodial sentence at Canberra’s only adult prison, the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

“This is a serious information gap that undermines the value of the rehabilitation process. Can there be genuine confidence in the effectiveness of the rehabilitation process when there is no method in place to track its long-term impact on young people’s lives?  

“This is beyond disappointing. Today in the Legislative Assembly, I will call on the Government to value the rehabilitation process by tracking children who have done a stint at Bimberi and yet end up at the AMC later in life.

“Specifically, I am asking the Government to establish a mechanism that will allow for the robust collection and sharing of this information by the beginning of the 2018–19 reporting year.

“Youth detention in the ACT has a troubling record going back many years. It is imperative that we can accurately assess if what is currently happening in our only detention centre is actually working as designed.

“The information that I am asking the Government to record will give authorities a better understanding of the effectiveness of juvenile rehabilitation programs and the long-term impact of the youth detention culture,” Mrs Kikkert concluded.