About Youth Justice Services

The Youth Justice Act 1997 (the Act) provides the legislative framework for the administration of youth justice in Tasmania.  The Act promotes diversion and rehabilitation of a young person where possible.

The principles of the Act include:

  • A youth is to be dealt with in a way that encourages them to accept responsibility for their behaviour;
  • A youth is not to be treated more severely than an adult would be;
  • The community is to be protected from illegal behaviour;
  • The victim of the offence is to be given opportunity to participate in the process of dealing with the youth;
  • Guardians should be encouraged to be involved in determining appropriate sanctions and encouraged and supported to fulfill their responsibility for the care and supervision of the youth;
  • Detaining a youth should be a last resort and for as short a time as is necessary;
  • Any sanction is designed to give an opportunity to develop social responsibility;
  • A youth is to be sanctioned in a manner appropriate to his or her age, maturity and cultural identify and offending history;
  • An Aboriginal youth should be dealt with in a manner that involves his or her community.

Children Youth and Families (CYF), Department of Communities Tasmania, provide services to young people from the point of engagement with Police if they are referred for a community conference, through the court process and any subsequent orders. These services include:

  • Coordination and management of community conferencing as referred by police or the court
  • Support for court processes, including the provision of pre-sentencing reports
  • Supervision and case management of young people on court orders
  • Safe and secure custodial services at the Ashley Youth Detention Centre (AYDC), including pre- and post-release support.

CYF also fund non-government organisations to deliver services including: support for youth at risk, bail support and transition from detention programs.

Youth Justice Residential Services

In September 2021, the Tasmanian Government announced the Ashley Youth Detention Centre will be replaced by new infrastructure and a new service delivery model.

This will include the construction of two new smaller facilities – one in the North and one in the South – and a service delivery model focused on early intervention, diversion strategies and detention as a last resort measure.

This model will provide the greatest opportunity to successfully redefine the custodial youth justice model to place
young people’s needs at its centre and is the preferred option of the 2016 Custodial Youth Justice Options Paper delivered by Noetic Solutions Pty Ltd.

More information

Ashley Youth Detention Centre Practice Framework: A Connected Community

Ashley Youth Detention Centre  Practice Framework Poster