News, media releases

Report reveals government lie on youth justice

  • Government shifts blame for its failure to protect Tasmanian children
  • High rates of assault and self-harm in youth detention
  • Rate of repeat offending doubles

There has been a nearly fourfold increase in the level of assault and self-harm incidents reported among troubled young people detained in the state’s youth justice system in the past year.

Despite the government’s repeated claims that it’s improving the circumstances and outcomes for young Tasmanians who end up in detention, the situation continues to deteriorate.

Shadow Child Safety Minister Josh Willie said rather than providing the therapeutic care necessary in these settings, this government and the Minister Roger Jaensch keep on the same failed track.

“Since this government came to office the rate of recidivism has doubled to 58 percent, meaning that more than half of the young offenders released from detention end up back inside within a year,” Mr Willie said.

“The rise of incidents of young people inflicting self-harm or being assaulted and brutalised while in detention at the Ashley Youth Detention Centre is alarming.

“This requires an urgent response from this government not more platitudes and motherhood statements about its strategy for safeguarding the wellbeing of Tasmania’s children. It’s a failed strategy that does not protect young people detained in state facilities.

“On many of these indicators Tasmania performs worse than any other state.”

The government is due to announce who will head up the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of abuse at Ashley and other government institutions.

Labor is calling for this crucial position to be filled by an independent practitioner from outside the system and for the inquiry to also examine the government’s inadequate response over so many years.

Josh Willie MLC
Shadow Minister for Child Safety