Overview and implications for the legal field
On 17 November 2017 the Royal Commission's report on the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory was released. As expected, the Commissioners condemned the conditions of custody and were highly critical of the limitations of the sentencing regime and the lack of diversionary
options for children at every stage of the process, amongst many other matters.
Child detention in the NT affects almost only Aboriginal children and their communities: 98% of the children detained in the NT are Aboriginal, which means that at any one time there are most l ikely to be only Aboriginal children detained. This appalling state of affairs exposes the continuing failure to redress racial inequality not only in the NT, but Australia-wide. Detention of children (and incarceration of adults) has a debilitating and marginalising effect on families and communities, and contributes significantly to the disempowerment of Aboriginal peoples in Australia.
In this session, Mary Spiers Williams and ANU Law School students who formed the Youth Justice Research Project will present a short overview of the findings of the Royal Commission and discuss implications of these findings for lawyers, lawmakers, judicial officers and law schools.
Sienna, Manny, Karina and Georgie with Max Henshaw, Stefanie Holland, and Rebecca Beard formed the Youth Justice Research Group in 2016. Amongst other research, they prepared a submission to this Royal Commission inquiry.