The report, Youth justice in Australia 2015–16, shows Indigenous young people are now 17 times more likely to be under youth justice supervision than non-indigenous young people, up from 13 times more likely in 2011–12.
But despite the percentage being higher, the actual number of Indigenous youth under justice supervision has decreased slightly.
In the period between 2011-12, there were a total of 2,742 Indigenous young people under justice supervision. Five years later, between 2016-2016, there were 2,500. This compares to 4,032 non-indigenous young people under justice supervision between 2011-2, and 2,887 between 2015-16.
Spokesperson for the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW), David Braddock, told NITV News: “There were about 5,500 young people under supervision on an average day in 2015–16, down from almost 7,000 in 2011–12.”
While this is good news overall, the snapshot isn’t as positive for Indigenous people.
“There has been a drop in the number of Indigenous young people under supervision in recent years. However, the decline for non-Indigenous young people was proportionally greater, which effectively increases over-representation of Indigenous young people in the youth justice system,” Mr Braddock said.
Children under youth justice supervision are all those who have gone through the court system and received a sentence, or are waiting for their matter to go through court.
Supervision can occur within a community or detention facility, and may include home detention, bail, being remanded in custody, being on parole or on probation, or being in detention.
The new report shows that overall, between 2015–16, “the number of young people in community-based supervision on an average day fell by 23%, while the number in detention fell by 11%.”
Mr Braddock explained, “most—84%—of the 5,500 young people under youth justice supervision were supervised in the community, with very few in detention on an average day.”
The AIHW report also shows that in 2015–16, “the rate of young people aged 10–17 under supervision on an average day was lowest in Victoria at 14 per 10,000 and highest in the Northern Territory at 57 per 10,000.
“Over the 5-year period to 2015–16, the rate of young people under supervision on an average day decreased in all states and territories except Queensland and the Northern Territory.”