Written by Andrew Fraser
July 4, 2016
While many Australian States’ and Territories’ politicians continue to engage in legislative law-and-order auctions, it is refreshing to see one jurisdiction holding out.
The ACT, notwithstanding that it is going to an election in October this year, has just introduced a program that hopes to break the offending cycle, but not by the blunt instrument of ever-longer mandatory sentences.
ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell, who is not standing for re-election in October, has unveiled a new program that aims to reduce recidivism among young offenders and engage youths who are considered at-risk of committing crimes.
The Intensive Diversion Program, delivered by the Canberra Police Community Youth Club (PCYC) and funded by ACT Policing, will target young recidivists in property crime and who are engaged with the Child and Youth Protection Service – some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
Mr Corbell said the program would improve community security.
“Diverting a young person from crime is not as simple as preventing opportunities for offending to occur,” he said. “Crime diversion requires consideration of the range of factors affecting each young offender. These might include their involvement with police and the justice system, their family and social supports, education and general life skills.
“Success in crime diversion requires input from the community and government services, police, schools and families to connect in a joined-up response to support a young person to stop their cycle of offending.”
The program is to run full-time Monday to Friday for 6 people (aged 14-18) at any one time.
The Intensive Diversion Program is one of four programs run under a $515,000 funding agreement with ACT Policing. Services under the program were to begin in late April.
Canberra PCYC chief executive Stephen Imrie said, "The more we can put into early intervention and into young people, the better the outcomes we will see .. The young people we're looking for the IDP are on the radar of ACT Policing.”
Obviously, with only six young people able to be assisted at a time, the program is not going to end property crime in the nation’s capital overnight – but it’s a valuable start in stopping young people getting sucked into what can often be the whirlpool of the criminal-justice system.
Of course, young people will continue to be charged with property and other offences and have to appear at court.
If you, or your son or daughter, are in this situation, you should consult a lawyer who specialises in criminal law.
The team at Armstrong legal deal only in criminal and traffic law and deal daily with a range of matters in the courts of the ACT, and surrounding NSW.