Koori Youth Justice Programs

A printable PDF document containing all of the information about the following Koori Youth Justice Programs can be found on the Koori Youth Justice Factsheet [PDF 43.4kb] at the bottom of this page.

  • Koori Youth Justice Program
  • Koori Intensive Bail Support Program
  • Koori Early School Leavers and Youth Employment Program
  • Koori Pre and Post Release Program

The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (April 1991) highlighted both the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the youth and adult justice systems, and the accelerated rate of progress through the youth justice system experienced by many young Aboriginal people. The findings included the need 'to devise strategies designed to reduce the rate at which young Aboriginal people are involved in the welfare and criminal justice systems'. The Department of Human Services has been actively putting this recommendation into practice.

Koori Youth Justice Program

The Koori Youth Justice Program was developed in 1992 in response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (April 1991) and now operates throughout the Department metropolitan and rural regions. Koori Youth Justice Workers are located across the state and within Parkville and Malmsbury Youth Justice custodial centres.

The Koori Youth Justice Program employs Koori Youth Justice Workers to support young Aboriginal people who are at risk of offending and also clients on community-based and custodial orders. The workers assist in providing access to appropriate role models, culturally sensitive support, advocacy and casework.

The Koori Youth Justice Program is operated in the community mainly by local Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations. Aboriginal Custodial workers are employed by Youth Justice Custodial Services to work with and support young Aboriginal people whilst they are in custody. The program aims to prevent offending or re-offending behaviour by ensuring that young Aboriginal people are connected to their families and communities and are provided with access to the supports and services they require.

Koori Early School Leavers and Youth Employment Program

The Koori Early School Leavers and Youth Education Program is an initiative designed to divert young people from the youth justice system by focusing on the key risk factors for young offenders, particularly lack of engagement with school or other learning and employment opportunities.

The Koori Intensive Support Program(KISP)

The KISP program has been amalgamated from two programs Koori Intensive Bail Support Program (KIBS) and Koori Pre and Post Release Program (KPPR).

The KISP works to reduce the number of young Aboriginal offenders who are detained prior to sentencing and provides intensive outreach support to assist young people to comply with bail conditions or on conditions placed on deferred sentences. This program provides assistance to help Aboriginal young offenders reintegrate into their communities. The program consists of a departmental based position, and provides support within the correctional facility pre-release and is continued via outreach in the community after the young person is released from custody.

Health and safety of young people in custody

A range of activities has been initiated to improve the health and safety of all young people while in custody as a result of the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

 Initiatives implemented include:

  • Bedroom modification in Youth Justice centres to minimise the risk of suicide and injury
  • Provision of additional resuscitation equipment for all Youth Justice centres
  • Ongoing training for staff in first aid, resuscitation and safe restraint techniques
  • Improved standards for the supervision of young people in custody
  • Training for staff in assessing and dealing with young people who are at risk of suicide or self-harm.

In addition, medical services have been upgraded in all Youth Justice Centres to include:

  • Creation of full-time nursing positions
  • Expanded psychiatric services
  • Introduction of peer education programs for HIV/AIDS and drug and alcohol issues in all Youth Justice centres
  • Drug and alcohol counsellors.

Aboriginal Cultural Support Plans

Young Aboriginal people have the opportunity to have an Aboriginal Cultural Support Plan to ensure their connection to their community, to enhance their sense of belonging to community and cultural supports to assist in diverting them from the youth justice system.

The role of Youth Justice Units

Youth Justice Units are at the front line of diverting young Aboriginal people from inappropriate entry into the youth justice system. In recent years Youth Justice Units have undertaken a range of initiatives to reduce the number of young Aboriginal people re-entering the youth justice system. These include:

  • Implementation of Aboriginal Cultural Support Plans
  • Partnership with the Department of Justice to implement the Children's Koori Court
  • Recruitment of Koori Intensive Bail Support Practitioners
  • Recruitment of Koori Intensive Post Release Support Practitioners
  • Secondary consultation with the Youth Justice Court Advice Service to ensure that adult clients have their cultural need met
  • Development of community-based programs, specifically for young Aboriginal offenders, which take into account cultural needs.

Contact Information

Program Advisor
Koori Justice Program
Youth Services and Youth Justice Branch
Tel: (03) 9096 8839

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