This procedure applies to young people subject to a youth justice centre order.

 

When to use this procedure

When supervising a young person subject to a youth justice centre order.

 

What else you need to know

 

Practice context and legislation

  • A youth justice centre order sentences a young person to a period of time in custody in a youth justice precinct.
  • Victoria is unique in Australia in having a dual-track custodial sentencing option for young people aged between 18 and 20 years who are dealt with by adult courts. This provides an alternative to prison and prevents early entry into the adult system for more vulnerable and lower risk offenders.
  • If, in sentencing a young person aged between 18 and 20 years, the court believes there are reasonable prospects for rehabilitation, or that the young person is particularly impressionable, immature or likely to be subjected to undesirable influences in adult prison, it may sentence the young person to a period of detention in a youth justice precinct. See procedure for ‘Youth justice centre suitability assessments – pre-sentence reports’.
  • The children’s court, magistrates’ courts and higher courts must consider the nature of the offence and the age, character and history of the young person. A children’s court must also consider whether a sentence involving confinement is appropriate and it must receive a pre-sentence report about the young person before making a sentencing decision. Youth justice centre suitability assessments must be completed in adult courts before sentencing.
  • When imposing a youth justice centre order, the court may make recommendations in writing for the management, treatment, or other matters concerning the young person to be detained. These recommendations must be addressed in the youth justice custodial client service plan.
  • In adult courts, the maximum term of a youth justice centre order is two years in a magistrates’ court and three years in the County or Supreme courts.
  • In Victoria, young women aged between 15 and 20 years old who are sentenced to a youth justice centre order are detained at Parkville Youth Justice Precinct. Young men aged between 15 and 18 years are detained at Parkville Youth Justice Precinct and young men aged between 18 and 20 years are detained at Malmsbury Youth Justice Precinct.
  • If young people aged between 10 and 14 years old are sentenced to a period of detention, this is called a youth residential centre order. Refer to the procedure for 'Youth residential centre order' for more information.
 

Roles and key tasks

Youth justice court advice service worker

  • Explain the youth justice centre order to the young person.

Case manager

  • Provide case management and planning for release.
  • Liaise with youth justice precinct key worker.
  • Maintain contact with the young person in custody.

Team leader / team manager

  • Consult with the case manager.
  • Endorse assessments, parole progress reports and plans, and court reports when required.

Assistant Director / Manager Individual and Family Support

  • Provide oversight, direction and monitoring of the area youth justice service.
  • Provide case consultation regarding young people exhibiting high-risk behaviours.

Youth Justice Senior Practice Advisor

Provide case consultation, particularly for young people exhibiting high-risk behaviours. This should occur subject to local area agreements between Assistant Director / Manager Individual Family Support and the Senior Practice Advisor.

 

 

The procedure in detail

Recommending a youth justice centre order

When recommending a youth justice centre order as the appropriate sentence, the worker must consider:

  • the nature of the offence/s
  • the young person’s youth justice history and compliance with previous orders
  • the safety of the community.

Workers must seek endorsement for the recommendation from their team leader or team manager, depending on the organisational structure in their area.

For dual-track 18–20-year-old young people, workers must also consult:

  • the relevant youth justice precinct manager
  • the designated adult court advice worker as appropriate.

Youth justice precincts

For specific procedures relating to the youth justice centre order, see the Youth justice custodial practice manual.

Case management responsibility

Primary case management responsibility for a young person sentenced to a youth justice centre order transfers from the community to custodial services on admission of the young person to custody.

All young people sentenced to a youth justice centre order must be allocated an area youth justice worker regardless of the length of the sentence or whether they will be released on parole or remissions.

The area youth justice worker is recorded on the Client Relationship Information System (CRIS) as the additional worker while the young person is in custody.

Youth justice precinct staff must update or undertake a new client assessment and client service plan. This plan builds on the assessment completed by the region and informs planning for the young person in custody.

When a young person leaves the youth justice precinct, case responsibility is transferred to the area youth justice unit.

Youth justice precinct staff must contact and communicate with the area youth justice worker to ensure the smooth transfer of case responsibility to the area.

Communication between community and custodial youth justice workers

The area youth justice worker must maintain regular contact with youth justice precinct workers to keep informed of a young person’s progress.

Communication between youth justice community based and youth justice precinct workers must occur for the following events:

  • undertaking client assessment and planning and the Victorian Offending Needs Inventory for Youth (VONIY)
  • planning the client service planning meeting
  • considering referrals to community services
  • significant events (for example incidents relating to family and health)
  • seeking employment or education options for the young person
  • if a young person returns to court
  • temporary leave planning
  • when considering transfer of a young person between precincts or to prison
  • when developing the parole or exit plan.

If a serious incident occurs in a youth justice precinct, the youth justice precinct key worker should notify the area youth justice worker. Please refer to the Youth justice custodial practice manual for more information.

All significant client service planning decisions must include consultation between the youth justice precinct worker and the area youth justice worker. This will ensure a unified approach to decision making and planning.

All service planning details must be recorded accurately on the young person’s file in CRIS.

If communication is unsatisfactory

If communication between community based and custodial workers is not satisfactory, workers must:

  • attempt to resolve the matter/s between themselves
  • increase communication by discussing expectations about when contact is made as per the list of events above
  • refer matters to line management if communication does not improve.

Contact with young people in custody

All young people sentenced to a youth justice centre order must be allocated an area youth justice worker regardless of the length of the sentence or whether they will be released on parole or remissions.

Within two weeks of a young person being sentenced and admitted to custody, the area youth justice worker arranges to visit the precinct to meet with the young person.

To establish routine contact arrangements, make an appointment with the young person’s allocated youth justice precinct key worker during the admission assessment period.

Discuss and negotiate a regular visiting schedule with the young person.

All visits and phone contact with young people occur during work hours. If possible, avoid arranging appointment times that conflict with the young person’s program commitments and activities.

Exercise professional discretion in determining the frequency of visits. Worker availability, length of sentence and the young person’s level of support and ability to cope in a youth justice precinct setting will influence the frequency of visits.

There is an expectation that all young people in a youth justice precinct will receive visits by area youth justice workers.

The frequency of visits will be determined by length of sentence and the stage of the sentence. For example, visits may become more frequent as a young person approaches eligibility for parole.

In some areas, arrangements may be made for members of parole teams to have contact with other team members’ clients during centre visits.

Exit planning – remissions

Young people released on remissions have no reporting obligations to the youth justice unit.

However communication by custodial workers with area youth justice workers before a young person’s release is important to establish community links and supports.

Youth justice precinct workers should contact the appropriate area to obtain information on post-release services, support, and accommodation options.

The area youth justice worker must participate in the exit planning process and the young person should be offered the opportunity to voluntarily access the support of the area youth justice worker.

Exit planning – parole

The Youth Parole Board determines parole eligibility dates and requests reports relating to the release of a young person on parole. Refer to procedures in the chapter for ‘Parole orders’ for more information.