My matter is for the Minister for Youth Justice.
It relates to her media release of 16 September in which she announced the commencement of a pilot program through which youth justice detainees would be (quote) “taught how to manage conflict and interpersonal relationships in custody”.
I appreciate that it’s probably too early to be asking for detailed information about how that program is or isn’t working so far – although I would greatly welcome the Minister’s reflections on that if she is prepared to provide them.
Instead, for the moment, I want to direct my attention to the merits of youth justice measures and programs more broadly.
That is sparked by two elements, in particular, of the September media release. Namely, these are the comments that $45.5 million was spent in the 2019-20 Budget on various youth justice initiatives, and that $18 million has been spent on the Youth Crime Prevention Grants program since 2016-17.
The Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2020-2030 launched earlier this year hinted at some changes in this general policy area. However, it’s my understanding (though I’m happy to be corrected on this) that the Youth Crime Prevention Grants program is meant to continue until at least the end of 2021.
However, either way, I believe a full version of the YCPG mid-term evaluation report of January 2020, rather than just the executive summary, has still not been released publicly.
Similarly, I am finding it difficult to trace (even from the very recent 2020/21 Budget papers) all of the elements of the $45.5 million to which the 16 September media release referred – and, indeed, to what extent reviews and evaluations of that funding have been undertaken as well.
At this point, I should acknowledge that Minister Hutchins and former Youth Justice Minister Carroll and their staff have generally been very good to me in making themselves and information available whenever I ask for it.
However, it is still difficult to understand exactly what is being spent, how (and how effectively) in this part of their portfolio – not least because there often seem to be lots of different measures and programs, including various short term pilot programs, being trialled.
Given all of that, the action I seek is an indication of what formal reviews and evaluations have been conducted on the youth justice measures in last year’s Budget and on the Youth Crime Prevention Grants program – and where and how members of the public and/or Parliament can access the complete versions of these documents.