$70m Cavan training centre opens

A new $70 million youth training centre at Cavan has been officially opened.

The new facility replaces the now non-operational facility at Magill and was officially opened by Premier Jay Weatherill this morning.

Mr Weatherill said the Adelaide Youth Training Centre was more focused on helping rehabilitate young offenders so they could avoid a life of crime.

“It is about taking some of our most troubled young people who have committed crimes, often serious crimes, and putting them in a place that protects the community and ensures they have an appropriate punishment, and also tries - while they are in this facility - to show them a new way,” Mr Weatherill said.

“This facility is very much based on an educative and rehabilitative model, so there are fantastic education facilities here.

“There is an area where young people and their families can be engaged so when they leave this place they can choose a different path, and that ultimately is going to be better for the young people and better for the community so they don’t embark on a life of crime.”

Mr Weatherill said the rehabilitation focus was aimed at the young people who commit serious crimes and repeat offenders.

“What we know in our juvenile justice system is that the overwhelming number of young people that come in contact with it, only come in contact with it once, and then they straighten up and go on to lead the rest of their lives.

“But for some young people their crimes are so serious, or they continue to commit crimes, they need to be detained in a facility of this sort.”

Mr Weatherill downplayed suggestions the new facility was more of a resort for young offenders than a training facility.

“It’s a very serious matter to take a young person, that is somebody before they have reached the age of adulthood, taking them from their families and depriving them of their liberty,” he said.

“We only do that in the most extreme cases. That is usually when there is a serious incident or a whole lot of repeat offending.

“We do that because we want to turn around their lives so they don’t cause the sort of mayhem we have seen of the streets that has been perpetrated by adults over the last few weeks.”

Pam Simmons, the Guardian for Children, said the new facility would provide a better environment than Magill to help rehabilitate young offenders.

“A good physical environment makes a big difference because it tells young people, and the staff, that we do respect them,” she said.

“Magill screamed at you humiliation and disrespect, whereas this environment tells you more about education, rehabilitation and respect, and it makes a big difference.

“This environment is one that will be well on the way to telling them they must learn to behave within the law and to respect other people and the community.”