NSW youth detainees reach historic low

Tiffanie Turnbull
·1-min read

The number of NSW kids in detention has dropped to a historic low, with the COVID-19 pandemic's impacts keeping more children out of the justice system.

Between the end of 2019 and end of 2020, the state's youth detention population reduced by almost 100 - or about 32 per cent - according to the latest NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) update.

Some 270 children were in custody in December 2019, compared to 184 in 2020.

The number of children in detention has more than halved since 2011.

While the number of children entering the youth detention system has been trending down for a while, diversionary measures put in place to protect prisons against and prepare them for coronavirus outbreaks created a sharp decline.

Adult prison populations also saw a significant reduction, with the number of detainees dropping to 2016 levels.

In December 2020, there were six per cent fewer prisoners than a year before.

The female prison population declined 12 per cent in the same period.

More people were discharged to wait for their court case in the community and fewer people were sentenced with court cases deferred, BOSCAR says.