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LIV welcomes youth crime reforms

LIV welcomes youth crime reforms

By LIV Media

Young Persons 


The Law Institute of Victoria says the government's suite of reforms aimed at addressing youth crime in Victoria is an encouraging move that will help deter young offenders from graduating into the adult prison system.

LIV president Steven Sapountsis said the intensive supervision component in the Youth Control Orders and Intensive Monitoring and Control Bail Supervision Scheme will help promote rehabilitation while providing strict boundaries.

"This is just what these young people and their families need. Rehabilitation is paramount in the case of young offenders, and when they get this level of support it can help turn the life of a young person around," Mr Sapountsis said.

The reforms will establish a new Youth Control Order (YCO) that has similarities to a Community Correction Order (CCO) and can include curfews, restrictions on who the offender may associate with, and also requires the young person to comply with an education, training or employment plan.

The new Intensive Monitoring and Control Bail Supervision Scheme will also have a much boosted supervisory requirement, and offenders will need to comply with education, training or work requirements.  Young offenders bailed through the Children's Court are currently not subject to supervision, although young people facing charges within the adult courts are.

The LIV welcomes the added supervisory element of both schemes, but pointed out that appropriate resourcing must be provided to ensure young offenders are supervised by people highly skilled in providing support in education, mental health and drug and alcohol abuse.

"What we hope to see is adequate funding to properly design these programs and employ skilled and qualified supervisors to ensure that the programs are a success,” Mr Sapountsis said. “A lot of these young people come from troubled backgrounds and need skilled support to divert them from a life of crime.”

Both schemes also include penalties for non-compliance with the requirements that can include custody or bail being revoked. Mr Sapountsis said this was appropriate as long as there was discretion from the magistrate as to how penalties would be imposed.

The LIV did have some concerns with the reforms. While the so-called Fagin’s Law may be targeting “bigwigs”, it could also apply to others. "Would a 19 year old who incited their younger brother to shoplift be facing 10 years in jail for instance?" Mr Sapountsis said.

The LIV also pointed out that magistrates in the Children's Court are already well equipped to consider all relevant matters – including community safety – at the time of sentencing a young person.

"Considerations of rehabilitation should not be displaced," he said. “To place a child in custody is the absolute last resort.”



LIV Media

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