Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Juvenile Justice reviews

Liz Keen | ABC Mid North Coast | 8 November, 2011

Listen to interview with Anne Marr, Regional Director Northern Region of Juvenile Justice

The NSW Government is conducting a review of the laws governing juvenile offenders.

NSW Attorney General, Greg Smith has released a consultation paper looking at whether the laws are effective and consistent with the Government's commitment to cutting re-offending rates.

The Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner, has organised an invitation only consultation with business members in Kempsey this Wednesday looking into Juvenile Justice locally.

Anne Marr is the Regional Director of the Northern Region of Juvenile Justice, Attorney General and Justice Department and she said the Kempsey meeting will sit alongside other community consultations to feed recommendations to the current reviews.

She says that while it is important that young offenders understand the impacts of the crime they have committed, it is also important the system looks at ways to stop the young person from reoffending.

"When you're locking up a 14 year old, you've got to do something to turn that young person around and make them a positive member of society."

Juvenile of Justice studies have shown that 60% of young offenders have a history of child abuse and trauma, 27% have been placed in care before the age of 16, 8% have a child of their own and 12% have a deceased parent; Ms Marr says that these issues need to be addressed.

A recent pilot project in Kempsey, The Kempsey Family Inclusion Project, had some success working alongside the family of a young person who has been found guilty of an offence and Anne Marr says that these sorts of projects could come out of the reviews.

"When we work at those different levels with a young person that's offending we have a much better chance of success than when we work with the young person just in isolation,"

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