A better future for Australia’s Indigenous young people: Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
The over-representation of Indigenous juveniles in the justice system has been an issue for many years, and is a particular issue in NSW. PIAC through its work in the Indigenous Justice Program, the Indigenous Men’s Access to Justice Program, and the CIDnAP partnership has identified a number of issues that need to be addressed to reduce the number of Indigenous juveniles in the criminal justice system. This submission begins by examining the international context in relation to children and detention, with PIAC suggesting the greater use of international standards for arrest and detention. The submission then examines issues surrounding the infrequent use of the diversionary options in the Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW), and the changes to the ability to apply for bail and be arrested for breach of bail under the Bail Act 1978 (NSW) that have led to an increase in children held on remand. PIAC’s work on children unlawfully detained due to administrative errors in bail conditions through the CIDnAP project is presented through a case study and recommendations for legislative change. The policy aims of the NSW government and police forces that need to be modified to reduce Indigenous juveniles in custody, and suggestions for greater co-ordination between state agencies, are examined. The submission finishes by presenting an overview of bail support and diversion programs that have been successfully run or are being piloted in NSW, including the Gamarada Program.