A group of respected community members will form a Youth Justice Board (YJB) to strengthen the State Government’s commitment to steer young people away from crime. Chaired by Corrective Services Commissioner James McMahon, the nine-member board has expertise in a range of areas including Aboriginal mental health, Aboriginal affairs, drug research, child health and business. Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis said the creation of the YJB reflected the Government’s determination to stop the waste of potential that occurred every time a young person ended up in detention. “It is a terrible waste for the individual, the family and for our community as a whole,” Mr Francis said. “The YJB priorities will include developing innovative strategies focused on crime prevention and diversion, drug and alcohol abuse, and alternatives to custody. The board members have been chosen because they bring other perspectives, expertise, and the courage to do things differently.” The role of the YJB will be to:
Strengthen the delivery of early intervention and diversion programs and services
Promote engagement between the business community and private and public sectors to initiate and deliver more effective crime prevention and diversion programs
Promote stronger engagement with Aboriginal families and communities
Work alongside a new youth justice division within the Department of Corrective Services.
“The board will act as a bridge-builder between our different government and non-government sectors, and shifting the way that all of us work together to improve the wellbeing of young people in Western Australia,” the Minister said. “A new Youth Justice Division will be responsible for a wide range of programs covering diversion and community-based sentences. That role will be overseen by the board and the Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services to ensure external scrutiny. The establishment of the new Youth Justice Board and Youth Justice Division will ensure the Government establishes an appropriate balance between custody, diversion and community-based options for young offenders.”