Although I found Sophie’s foregrounding of her emotions in the …

Comment on Youth crime: compassion alone is no solution by Rainer Chlanda.

Although I found Sophie’s foregrounding of her emotions in the story a bit uncomfortable, the depiction of the facility and the effects (further traumatisation) it has on kids provides the public with a valuable insight that can, in part, inform us as to what needs to change in our response to vulnerable children in the youth justice system.
To my knowledge the “substantial upgrading” of the facility had offices built out the front of the Juvie for the staff and for meetings, turned the old offices into more cells, extended the razor wire higher, and clad the outside fence with sheet metal preventing the detainees from seeing outside the perimeter of the yard – hardly grounds to claim that conditions have improved for young offenders.
In the past I have also spent a lot of time in the Juvie visiting clients and found the facility harrowing.
More often than not it was filled with the sound of at least one young person screaming in distress from a cell that, although air-conditioned, is a small, dark, concrete room that I know at times had more than its capacity of two trapped in it, and where kids would spend hours on end during “lockdowns”.
Evoking the words “torture” and “hell” to describe the place is fitting to my mind.
Omitting that the Prison Fellowship bus run can transport family for visits was misleading, but not mentioning that kids are locked up because they committed crimes and that it’s often the case that their home environments are poor is common knowledge and need not be in a story whose merit lies in its critique of our flawed youth justice system.

Recent Comments by Rainer Chlanda

Real young people, not the faceless offender
Thanks you all for your praise, thoughts and critique.
Phil Walcott – sorry for belated response, I’ve been out bush organising the next one.
But yes please feel free to share the link to the story on your site and FB page.

Keeping youth in sight
Thanks for your comment James.
I guess the educational places are schools. St Joseph’s College are doing a good job of engaging many youth who have struggled in mainstream.
What the project will hopefully achieve is a platform for free expression after school hours and during holidays.

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