Youth Justice

Youth justiceA young person provided with every possible opportunity to create a bold and vibrant future, in turn, creates a fearless, confident young adult. While the vast majority of young people have secure and nurturing childhoods that establish a strong foundation for life, there are others who meet significant barriersand disadvantage which lead them into regular or ongoing contact with the justice system.

Young people are not necessarily born criminals, and for a young person convicted of a crime, it can lead to life-destroying consequences including homelessness, diminutive employment opportunities and loss of finance.


The purpose of youth justice is to provide a fair and sensible reply to young people in contact with the youth justice system.  This response holds young people accountable for their actions, inspires their reintegration into the community and encourages community safety.  Also, providing optimism to a young person who has offended through community-based programs to reevaluate their actions facilitates a safer and happier community.  Rehabilitation is especially significant when we consider the opportunity that we as members of a community have to intervene early in the life of a young person who has offended.


Young people who come into frequent contact with the justice system do so as part of a disordered lifestyle. The risk factors for young people include housing and community dysfunction, drug and alcohol use, family and domestic violence, disadvantage and poverty, disengagement from education and social exclusion.  A collaborative, holistic approach to youth justice issues should involve addressing the underlying causes of offending behaviour and delivery of diversionary programs, as well as tackling the offending behaviour itself.  Government and non-government funded youth support programs, access to education, accommodation and robust and engaged leadership are all crucial elements, not just for a young person, their family and the broader community but the local economy and well-being of all Australians.


The operating philosophy in the Youth Justice Services (YJS) division within the Department of Corrective Services (the Department) is responsible for the safety, security and rehabilitation of young people in custody and those engaged with YJS in the community.  The core objective is to reduce reoffending among young people through:

  • programs and services to divert young people away from the criminal justice system;
  • programs and services for young people on orders in the community; and
  • programs and services in custody.

The work of YJS is guided by the principles and functions outlined in the Young Offenders Act 1994 and the Department’s Strategic Plan 2015 – 2018.  The Young Offenders Act 1994 also provides for the administration of juvenile justice.  It sets out the provisions for dealing with young persons who have alleged to have committed offences and to ensure that the legal rights of young persons involved with the criminal justice system are adhered to.  YJS staff will work in the community and in Banksia Hill Detention Centre to improve outcomes for young people in conflict with the justice system.  In line with the Department’s mission to ensure a safer community, YJS will focus on the:

  • security and safety of young people at every stage of the youth justice system;
  • safety of our people; and
  • rehabilitation of young people.


Should you, or anyone you know, require any assistance in relation to young adults, between the ages of 18 – 25 for criminal matters, contact Lawson Legal for your free initial consultation with our experienced criminal lawyer.