This letter was submitted to the Royal Commission that was announced following a Four Corners report on juvenile detention conditions in the Northern Territory.
The central contention of this submission is that while there is rightly significant community concern about the operation of youth justice facilities in the Northern Territory, this concern should not be used to indict the entire youth justice system in the Territory. Underlying the problems affecting these facilities are social, economic, and cultural factors that better explain the unique aspects of youth justice in the Northern Territory than do blanket denunciations of institutional prejudice.
Nonetheless, there is good reason to believe that Australia’s criminal justice system as a whole is failing the public. This submission concludes by placing the problems of the Northern Territory’s youth justice system in the context of the growing need for criminal justice reform in Australia.