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Youth justice system continues to fail young Tasmanians

Despite government assurances that fixing youth justice is a high priority, young people aged 10-17 are still routinely being detained in adult prisons.

Tasmanian Labor understands that over the course of 2023, up to 400 young people aged 17 and under were detained between the Hobart Reception Prison and the Launceston Reception Prison – averaging one person a day.

These young people are held there by the Tasmanian Prison Service under an MOU with Youth Justice and Tasmania Police.

Youth Justice workers do not work in those prisons and young people should not be held alongside adult offenders.

Correctional officers have been raising grave concerns about holding young people in adult prisons for more than a year but say Minister Madeleine Ogilvie has completely failed to deal with it, writing a non-committal response then doing nothing.

To make matters worse, the Reportable Conduct Scheme and Child and Youth Safe Standards – designed to better protect our young people – have now been in force for a month and must be complied with by any organisations interacting with young people, including TPS staff.

But these workers have received no guidance, training or information about these new obligations.

In good faith, Labor supported the implementation of the Child and Youth Safe Standards and Reportable Conduct Scheme, and the raising of the minimum age of detention.

However, these figures show the Government is all talk, and has not done the work needed to keep young people safe.

You’d think with the Commission of Inquiry findings being so damming that the Government would pay more than lip service to their obligations.

Tasmanians deserve a government that acts on its commitments and delivers on its promises – but after 10 years of Liberal government, all they’re getting are empty promises and excuses.

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