Aboriginal youth court cuts custody rates

·1-min read

Young Indigenous offenders going through a specialist Aboriginal court in NSW are 40 per cent less likely to be jailed than those sentenced through the usual Children's Court process.

An evaluation by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research puts this down to culturally sensitive case management approaches favouring rehabilitation over incarceration.

BOCSAR compared sentencing and reoffending outcomes for 151 Aboriginal young people who participated in the specialist Youth Koori Court with 2883 Aboriginal youths who proceeded through the usual Children's Court process.

The evaluation found YKC offenders were 40 per cent less likely to receive a sentence in contrast to Aboriginal young people who were sentenced through the mainstream judicial system.

"It is an alarming reality that in 2022, 43 per cent of young people in custody are Aboriginal," said BOCSAR executive director Jackie Fitzgerald.

"The Youth Koori Court offers a promising model to reduce incarceration rates of Aboriginal young people"

The study also noted YKC participants who did reoffend were 84 per cent less likely of being imprisoned.

The specialist Indigenous court differs from standard courts whereby an action plan addressing the risk factors for offending are developed with a nominated Indigenous elder.

Sentencing is also deferred for up to a year if the young person pleads guilty.

The Sydney-based Youth Koori Court has been in operation at Parramatta Children's Court since February 2015 and at Surry Hills Children's Court since February 2019.

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