Since the age of 12, *Brian has spent every single birthday in juvenile detention. Now, at 17 he’s determined to break free from the family crime cycle and forge a new life for himself.
Violence and drugs have been part of *Brian’s life for as long as he can remember.
“I grew up around alcohol, I grew up around drugs, I grew up around might as well say everything,” *Brian tells Insight.
Jail continues to be a revolving door for his parents, and so with a lack of role models in his life to steer him in the right direction it was no surprise that at age 12 *Brian found himself starting down a path of crime.
“It was pretty hard for a kid like me to be around bad friends that always want you to go smoke and wag school and, you know, always want to get in trouble by the police.”
Soon juvenile detention became *Brian’s second home, and like his parents that revolving door of crime became a recurring theme in his life as he found himself caught up in burglary, stealing and assault - to list a few.
But a car crash last year became a defining moment in *Brian’s life and the catalyst for change.
He was a passenger in a stolen vehicle which crashed with another car, leaving two elderly people injured. He reluctantly fled the scene of the accident and served time for his actions but he knew this wasn’t how he wanted to spend the rest of his life.
“It just took me a good while, like a good time to wake up to myself and realise the things I have done were wrong and break out of that cycle.”
“I was sick of doing the same thing every day, every month, every year of my life.”
But *Brian, who is now aged 17,has largely had to make these changes on his own as his parents have never been present.
“Because they’re not around and it’s just hard, you know, to cope, it’s like carrying the world on your shoulders by yourself, you expect your mum and dad to be there to help you out.”
Yet despite the circumstances *Brian is determined to better himself and volunteered in a ranger program in Queensland where he helped take care of the environment.
He has also signed up for the Defence Force and will be going to New South Wales in six months when he turns 18.
“The young people around me really need a role model and there was no-one around so I want to be a role model.”
“I want to be that one criminal [who] never graduated, but he still made it through life, you know?”
And *Brian’s one month old son is also pushing him forward as he begins this new chapter of his life.
“I just want to be there and just make sure that he has a father like I didn’t have a father.”
He tells Insight’s Jenny Brockie that unlike his parents, he will be there for his son no matter what to ensure he doesn’t have to “carry the world” on his own.
“He doesn’t have to take big steps alone.”
As a juvenile offender *Brian’s name has been changed in this article for legal reasons.