The average national rate at which young people are placed in custody in Australia is 31 in every 100,000. The rate at which young people are placed in custody in NSW is 38 in every 100,000. This compares with 56 in Western Australia, 99 in the Northern Territory and 9 in Victoria where greater emphasis is placed on diversionary and preventative programs. Several broad observations and trends in Australian juvenile justice can be identified at the national level.
Over the last ten years, there has been a decrease in the number of cases heard in Australian children’s courts due to the increasing trend of diverting juveniles during the early stages of processing. Such diversionary measures typically include conferencing, drug and alcohol courts and programs, juvenile justice teams and special courts and programs for young people. The most common types of offences for which juveniles are adjudicated in children’s courts include burglary or theft, assault and dangerous or negligent driving.
Of all juvenile defendants who appeared in Australian children’s courts during the 2006-07 financial year, ninety-two percent received a criminal conviction and eighty-two percent pleaded guilty. Ninety-two percent of convicted juvenile offenders received non-custodial penalties such as fines, good behaviour bonds or community supervision orders. ‘How effective is the juvenile justice system? is a very difficult question to answer and will vary from person to person as some will be looking at the reduction in the crime rate will others will look at victim satisfaction.
In Australia the Juvenile system I believe is quite effective as each state have their own specific way in tackling young offenders , that are relevant specifically to that state. The AIC has monitored juveniles in detention in Australia since 1981. It has found that the number of juvenile detainees per 100,000 head of population dropped from 64. 9 in 1981 to 37 in 2008.