Juveniles aged 10-17 years commit more property than violent crimes, and generally commit less serious crimes such as graffiti, vandalism, shoplifting, fare evasion, motor vehicle theft, unlawful entry and road traffic offences. The main purposes of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 are: to provide for community services to support children and families; and to provide for the protection of children; and to make provision in relation to children who have been charged with, or who have been found guilty of, offences.
There are multiple alternative methods of justice besides incarceration that are seen as more beneficial to the child and help prevent them from reoffending.
One alternative method is the Ropes program. Ropes is essentially it is a diversion program for young offenders who are appearing in court for the first time. Ropes involves participation in a day long course with a number of other offenders and police officers. There is a morning session that comprises introductions, completion of a low ropes course and a discussion session on teamwork, being part of the community, choices and chances, and actions and consequences. The group have lunch together and then progress to completion of a high ropes course. At the end of the day there is a presentation of the certificate of completion. A copy of that certificate is forwarded to the court. Providing the course has been successfully completed, the young person is not required to appear at court on the next court date and the charges are struck out. This means there is no finding of guilt and no sentencing order made against the young person
This alternative method teaches youth offenders how to work as part of a team, develop trust skills, develop relationships with officers in the police force and get to know other youth offenders.
Another method is Group conferencing. If a...