Bailed juveniles next-door to you soon?

2466 Dale WakefieldBy ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Families Minister and MLA for Braitling Dale Wakefield will neither confirm nor deny that NT Government funds are being provided to purchase suburban homes to accommodate juveniles charged with crimes but granted bail.

 

We have received no responses in reply to questions we asked Ms Wakefield following contacts from concerned residents: How many houses? In what streets? At what average purchase cost per house?

 

Who will manage these homes and what are their qualifications? Do the homes have security facilities to keep bailed youths from absconding in violation of any orders the court may be making?

 

What powers will the managers have to prevent such absconding? What is the total cost of the initiative? How many juveniles will it cater for? How many are on bail at the moment?

 

Meanwhile Ms Wakefield says in a media release the NT Government has allocated $4.86m to youth bail support services in Darwin and Alice Springs, “as part of the $18.2m Better Outcomes for Youth Justice Reform.

 

2479 juvenile detention 2 OK“The new support services for young people aged 10 to 17 years include bail support accommodation, bail supervision and a bail support and referral line.

 

AT LEFT: Juvenile detention cell in Alice Springs to be renovated. Bail accommodation will avoid having to put young people in facilities like that whilst awaiting trial.

 

“The new bail support services will improve bail accountability by providing the support and supervision that young people need to meet their bail conditions.”

 

She says Saltbush Social Enterprises has been appointed as the provider to deliver bail support services.

 

Managing Director Karen Sheldon AM said that the organisation will be working closely with the Government and other stakeholders to put young people back on the right path.

 

The media release says bail support accommodation aims to reduce the number of young people remanded in police watch houses or youth detention centres.

 

“Common reasons for young people being remanded in custody include a lack of suitable accommodation for bail purposes, difficulties locating responsible adults to support young people on bail and a lack of access to support services and programs.”

 

A service for young females in Alice Springs has been operated by Alice Springs Youth Accommodation and Support Services (ASYASS) since August 2017, and will continue.

 

Bail supervision will be in place 24/7 within the bail support accommodation, as a collaborative effort between Youth Outreach and Re-engagement Officers and Saltbush Social Enterprises, says the release.

 

Bail supervision includes transport to ensure that children get to court, school, medical and therapeutic appointments and other services that will help them meet their bail conditions and case management plan.

 

 

UPDATE February 13

 

Minister Wakefield and Territory Families have now provided the following answers to questions from the Alice Springs News Online.

 

I understand Anglicare and possibly other NGOs are being funded by the NT government to acquire homes to be used as bail accommodation for juveniles accused of offences.

 

That is incorrect. Saltbush Social Enterprises has been appointed to provide new bail support services in Darwin and Alice Springs, in partnership with Territory Families. The bail support accommodation service for young females in Alice Springs, operated by Alice Springs Youth Accommodation and Support Services (ASYASS) since August 2017, will continue.

 

How many houses?

 

Saltbush operates one bail support accommodation facility in Darwin, and one in Alice Springs. ASYASS operates one bail support accommodation facility for young females in Alice Springs. There are three facilities in total.

 

In what streets?

 

Territory Families does not publicly share the details of facilities where vulnerable children and young people are being accommodated. Territory Families consulted with the neighbours of all three properties during the establishment process.

 

At what average purchase cost per house?

 

Bail support accommodation is being provided at premises already owned by Territory Families, or supplied by the service provider.

 

Who will manage these homes and what are their qualifications?

 

Saltbush and ASYASS manage these facilities day-to-day, in partnership with Territory Families. The appointment of Saltbush Social Enterprises to provide new bail support accommodation services was determined through a two-stage public tender process, where submissions were assessed based on criteria including providers’ past performance, capacity and experience in working with youth.

 

Do the homes have security facilities to keep bailed youths from absconding in violation of any orders the court may be making?

 

A young person can’t “escape” or “abscond” from bail support accommodation. They are able to leave at any time, as this accommodation is an alternative to detention to provide a facility for young people on remand before any court decision is potentially brought against them. Voluntary departure however may result in the young person breaching their bail conditions.

 

What is the total cost of the initiative?

 

NT Government has allocated $4.86m to bail support services in Darwin and Alice Springs for 2017-18, committing $4.1m in funding per year for the three years to follow. This is part of the government’s $18.2m Better Outcomes for Youth Justice Reform package announced in early 2017.

 

How many juveniles will it cater for?

 

Each facility operated by Saltbush  is able to accommodate 12 young males, on average, per day. The Darwin facility will also be able to accommodate young females, provided it is safe and secure to do so at the time.  The bail support accommodation service for young females in Alice Springs, operated by ASYASS 2017, will continue (as above). These premises can accommodate up to four young females on average per day, if required.

 

How many are on bail at the moment? 

 

As at 12 February 2018, there are five young people in bail support accommodation in the Northern Territory; three in Darwin, and two in Alice Springs.

 

 

 

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18 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    @ Former resident: I know how to use a computer but I do not like to read a text with a dictionary or to have to ask Google.
    CAALAS and CEO is easy because we are used to those words but, sorry, try the others and you will see it is not the first and only meaning of those abbreviations and I do not understand why I should have to choose.
    Kiss, Evelyne.

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  2. Former Alice Resident
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    @ Evelyne Roullet:
    CAALAS, YA, CEO of OCF, YJAP.
    Google these abbreviations and you get:
    Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service.
    CEO of OCF: Chief Executive Office of the Office of Children and Families (AKA also known as) The Department of OCF.
    YJAP: Youth Justice Advocacy Program.

    View Comment
  3. Local1
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    @ Trevor: You have nailed it, absolutely nailed it. Unfortunately is is far more common than people think or could even imagine.

    View Comment
  4. Trevor Shiell
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:30 am

    In 35 years teaching her at all levels, there have been instances where Indigenous children have played up disrupting the learning for everyone else.
    I remember taking one of these children aside and got the response “you can’t do anything to me because I’m Aboriginal”.
    Another response that I remember getting was “you’re picking on me because I’m black”.
    I pointed out the young woman that my own children, being part Fijian, had the same skin color to which the response was “but they’re not Aboriginal”.
    This attitude has been promoted over years by professionals purportedly acting in the best interests of their clients but which has resulted in thinking that their clients are not subject to the same codes of behavior as the rest of the community.
    These professionals have largely acted in the best interests of their professional careers and then moved on, leaving us with a legacy that we see now.
    You reap what you sow. I feel for the parents who have their children’s education compromised.

    View Comment
  5. Physics Bill
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    What is all this money being spent on?
    $4.1m/yr = $11,233 per day!
    28 youths total in the three facilities means the cost is $401 per youth per day.
    The Deputy Prime Minister is only entitled to $276 a day if he stays in Canberra.

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  6. Interested
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:27 am

    @ Alice Local: You assume that [a] Dale even lives in Alice Springs these days (she appears to be MIA).
    And [b] if she does, she apparently has blinkers on and is completely oblivious to the current plight of the town.

    View Comment
  7. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:22 am

    CAALAS, YA, CEO of OCF, YJAP.
    Sound like a code or foreign language to me uneducated / uninitiated old lady.
    Could we have the full name of those associations?
    YA can be so many things.
    Jap is an English abbreviation of the word “Japanese”.
    OCF Operational Consensus Forecasts or Oversea Christian Fellowship?
    I would like to understand the post. Thank you.

    View Comment
  8. Alice Local
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Dale should try it out next door to her house see how it works out for her!

    View Comment
  9. Interested
    Posted February 13, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    According to a CAALAS report titled “Set up to Fail”: “Anglicare also intermittently provides accommodation (and informal court support) to YA bailees under the care of the CEO of OCF and has developed a positive working relationship with YJAP.”

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  10. Local 1
    Posted February 13, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    @ Alex: Not sure what evidence you are referring to about alternatives in other countries working. I have tried to find comparatives to our situation, and could not, and our society is vastly different to these countries.
    My other point is when you say that what we have done over the last 20 years has not worked.
    How can that be proven? In another 20 years, we may look back at this new approach and compare it to what we have been doing, and find it has been more successful, but then again it may fail miserably.
    Unless we get to a point where we have two choices to compare, it is hard to outright dismiss what has been done over the last 20 years or so.

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  11. Interested
    Posted February 13, 2018 at 11:46 am

    For anyone interested, Saltbush Social Enterprises (Karen Sheldon Group) were awarded (through a tier two tender process designed to manage contracts under $100K) a $12.1m contract in November 2017 for “Provision of Supported Bail Services for Territory Families for a Period of 36 Months”.

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  12. Interested
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 9:52 am

    A house in a small golf course cul-de-sac recently sold for $635K to Anglicare (apparently). Anglicare currently provide some accommodation services to youth on bail. So perhaps this is one of the houses? That ought to be good for the neighbors and property value.
    As the land is SD zoning, the use of the property for supporting accommodation is discretionary.
    As such, approval would need to be made by the Development Consent Authority. If such development were to have a detrimental effect on the residential amenity then there is grounds for it not be approved.
    Perhaps I missed something, but I do not recall such an application to the DCA prior to the sale of this property and nor did it appear in the development on line archives over the last four months.
    Surely the NTG will not simply rubber stamp such development without going through the correct process? Spending $635K with no guarantees is quite a risk.

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  13. Surprised!
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 8:40 am

    @ Alex Hope: Alex, I take your point/s. Incarceration is obviously the last resort.
    My issue is that a lot of these people are going around inflicting harm on innocent people and we have had enough.
    The government needs to have a strong and unified approach to dealing with these issues.
    We all need to put ourselves in the position of the victims of crime as see how we would feel.
    If I was a corrections person and someone spat at me, I’d want to belt them too.
    So a lot of the kneejerk reactions are because parents have failed and continue to fail miserably in their roles as parents.
    This is the cause of most of these issues and any subsequent actions by society are merely bandaid solutions.

    View Comment
  14. R Henry
    Posted February 10, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    We have been down this road before and it didn’t work then either.

    View Comment
  15. Alex Hope
    Posted February 10, 2018 at 10:43 am

    @ Surprised: My reading of the evidence is that the punitive strategies used in the last 20 years or so have not worked.
    Locking up young people tends to institutionalise them rather than rehabilitate them and a large number of them progress to a life spent in and out of the court system and adult prisons.
    This costs taxpayers an enormous amount, and also led to the inhumane treatment of young people highlighted in the recent Royal Commission.
    Our prisons have been re-named as correctional centres but despite some valiant efforts such as the art program in Alice Springs which has done wonders for the self-esteem of the participants, the change is largely aspirational and there would seem to be more punishment than correction going on there.
    There is a lot of evidence now from many countries that dollars spent on alternatives to incarceration save many more dollars later.
    Of course not all of these young people can be rehabilitated, but both on moral and financial grounds it makes sense to reduce the numbers of people our society needs to lock up long-term.
    The most important principle here is for governments to collect and use independent
    evidence as the basis for making policy, rather than knee-jerk reactions which appeal to those voters who prefer to make up their minds on the basis of instinct and prejudice rather than rational appraisal of what works and what doesn’t.

    View Comment
  16. Surprised!
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Take off your rose coloured glasses, Rosalie, wake up and smell the coffee.
    Chronology (by virtue of the fact they are young) says that if your people demonstrated respect for others (and themselves) and accountability for their own actions, they would be treated “humanely” as you put it.
    Why is it that there are do-gooders that somehow manage to muddy the waters by convincing people to feel sorry for those who behave badly.
    The fact that the child may have had a bad upbringing, DOES NOT mean they can be pricks to the rest of society.
    When they are held accountable and disciplined properly, they may learn self respect and hopefully respect others and guess what, they may be treated humanely as you so desperately desire.

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  17. Braedon Earley
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Another Gunner Labor Government failure on the way.

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  18. Rosalie Schultz
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 11:53 am

    If we treat young people humanely, they are more likely to behave humanely.

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