On an average night in the June quarter of 2012, there were 1,024 young people in juvenile detention across Australia, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Juvenile detention population in Australia: 2012, presents information on the population in juvenile detention, focusing on trends over the 4-year period from the June quarter 2008 to the June quarter 2012.
‘This equates to about 1 in every 3,000 young people aged 10-17 in the overall population,’ said AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard.
Both the number and rate of young people in detention have remained relatively stable over recent years.
‘Of these 1,000 young people in detention, just over 50% were unsentenced-that is, awaiting the commencement or outcome of their court matter, or sentencing.’
In the last year, there has been an increase in the unsentenced population (up 9%) and a decrease in the sentenced population (down 9%).
Most young people in detention were aged 10-17, and just over half (53%) were Indigenous.
‘Indigenous young people were 31 times as likely as non-Indigenous young people to be in detention on an average night in the June quarter 2012, up from 27 times as likely in the June quarter 2008,’ Mr Beard said.
‘This means that 1 in every 217 Indigenous young people aged 10-17 were in detention on an average night.’
This increase in the level of over-representation was greatest in unsentenced detention.
‘Indigenous young people were 31 times as likely as their non-Indigenous counterparts to be in unsentenced detention in 2012, compared to 24 times as likely in 2008.’
Young men were also over-represented in the juvenile detention population, accounting for 91% of young people in detention.
There were some differences in trends among states and territories over the 4 year period to the June quarter 2012.
‘For example, while numbers and rates were stable at a national level, the number of detainees on an average night decreased in both New South Wales and Tasmania, and rose in all other jurisdictions,’ Mr Beard said.