Youth justice is at a crossroads in Australia. In every state and territory across the nation, governments are grappling with youth justice issues as they seek to reduce crime, improve community safety and respond to public concern that is being fanned by sensationalised media coverage.

In order to inform the discussions around youth justice in Australia, Jesuit Social Services decided to look outside our borders for potential solutions. Some of the senior leaders of our organisation undertook an international #JusticeSolutions study tour, taking in parts of Norway, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. We visited detention facilities and diversion programs and talked with their managers and staff. We also met with senior justice personnel, non-profit service providers, academics and youth justice advocates.

In this presentation, we will set the scene for youth justice in Australia, outlining challenges, offending and recidivism trends, as well as reports of abuse that are taking place nation-wide. In response, we offer the learnings from our #JusticeSolutions tour, detailing overseas successes as they relate to prevention and diversion, assessment, detention, transition and reintegration, education, workforce capability, social infrastructure and evidence-based policy.

Based on the learnings from our international tour, as well as our 40 years’ experience working in justice, we propose the key principles for a good youth justice system that should be adopted and put into action by stakeholders and governments across Australia.

Glenn Jessop
Jesuit Social Services
General Manager, Policy and Advocacy

Biography: Glenn Jessop is currently General Manager – Policy and Advocacy at Jesuit Social Services, where he oversees the policy, advocacy and research agenda across key areas including criminal justice, mental health and complex needs, refugee and asylum seekers, and education, training and employment.

Prior to this he worked for the Victorian Government for eight years in a range of departments (Premier and Cabinet; Human Services; Health; Justice; Planning and Community Development), and completed a PhD at Swinburne University on the regulation of mobile phone use while driving.

Glenn is passionate about making sure that those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged have the best opportunity to live healthy and fulfilling lives, as well as translating policy directions into tangible outcomes.

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