20 March 2024

Child Youth and Family Service provider joins calls to prevent “dangerous changes” to bail laws in NSW

In the week of Closing the Gap Day, Life Without Barriers joins the coalition of Aboriginal and legal organisations in condemning plans that could see the NSW Government introduce punitive law and order measures that will result in more children in jails.

The State Government has announced new legalisation that includes alterations to bail laws which will result in more children and in particular, more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children potentially being sent to jail.

Aboriginal and legal organisations across NSW have expressed immediate and urgent concern, saying it will only make regional NSW communities more dangerous.

Suellen Lembke, Manager of Evidence-Based Programs and Implementation at Life Without Barriers said Life Without Barriers stands firmly with NSW’s Aboriginal and legal peak organisations in condemning any proposal that results in more children in jail and less engagement with NSW’s youth.

“When children are incarcerated, they emerge for the most part unchanged, often even more criminalised and with even more barriers in their futures,” Ms Lembke said.

“Evidence tells us that locking young people up does not lead to sustainable change, often it exacerbates the underlying issues associated with offending and allows the underlying causes around offending to continue. It can actually leave communities worse off in the long term.

“We know what works to reduce youth offending. Over 30 years of research has shown that a program like Multisystemic Therapy (MST), for example, achieves excellent, long-term results for young people and families because it addresses the root causes of anti-social behaviour. By working with a young person’s family, extended kin, culture, school, peers and community, we can leverage the strengths in these systems to affect and sustain change, often at a much lower cost to the taxpayer.

“It doesn’t make sense to ignore the systems the NSW Government has in place to help young people engage with family, community and culture.

“With Close the Gap Day this week, we implore the NSW Government to be prioritising measures that fast-track failing targets, not locking kids up.

Life Without Barriers encourages the NSW Government to take advice from experts in the legal and community sectors by implementing the three-point youth crime prevention plan outlined by these groups to see real results in youth crime in the state.


Please see the original announcement from the coalition of Aboriginal and legal organisations in NSW here - https://www.alsnswact.org.au/secret-plan-to-throw-more-children-in-jail

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