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Australia could alleviate its youth justice crisis by importing the right ideas from the US

Vincent Schiraldi writes in The Conversation (24.3.17) that Australian jurisdictions should enact permanent solutions to juvenile justice crises which replace large and ineffective youth prisons with a safer, more decent alternative.

‘There continues to be a barrage of bad news coming out about juvenile justice systems in Australia and the US. But rather than temporary crackdowns or cosmetic fixes, officials in both countries should enact permanent solutions that replace large and ineffective youth prisons with a safer, more decent alternative.

‘In Australia, a royal commission to investigate conditions in the Northern Territory’s juvenile detention facilities continues. The inquiry was called after staff at the Don Dale centre were captured on film brutally abusing inmates.

‘In the US, Kalief Browder, incarcerated at age 16 in New York City’s Rikers Island jail, was filmed being beaten by guards and other inmates. He would spend two out of three years of his incarceration in solitary confinement without being brought to trial. After this, in 2015, he committed suicide, prompting US President Barack Obama to ban solitary confinement in federal juvenile facilities.

‘And riots by detained youth in Australia and in the US have caused officials to transfer them to adult prisons.’

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