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Prior to Youth on Track, the criminal justice system diverted some young offenders out of the system through the use of cautions and youth justice conferences, however intensive offence-focused case management and interventions were not offered until they received a supervised order with Youth Justice. This often occurs after the young person has had several formal contacts with police. Youth on Track offers a service to address criminogenic risk and needs as early as the first formal contact with police for young people who have a greater likelihood of reoffending.
Youth on Track complements the existing criminal justice system by operating alongside and after formal contact with the system. Youth on Track works with young people who may not have committed a serious crime but who exhibit risk factors and delivers evidence-based, offence-focused interventions that target the young person's identified criminogenic risks and needs. This process allows Youth on Track to conduct assessments, case management and interventions at an earlier point than previously available.
Many young people who offend will stop without any form of intervention and without further contact with the criminal justice system. However, young people who come into the criminal justice system at a young age are more likely to offend for longer, more frequently and go on to receive a custodial sentence.
Youth on Track focuses on intervening early, engaging families and providing targeted, individualised interventions to address the underlying causes of the young person's involvement in crime.
Youth on Track targets 10 – 17 year old offenders who have a high likelihood of re-offending. These young people have received one or more cautions, conferences or charges and are likely to also have other risk factors. The target group has not yet received a supervised order with Youth Justice however, based on an actuarial tool developed by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), has a greater chance of reoffending.
Using data from BOCSAR regarding juvenile offenders in 2014 it is predicted that approximately 1720 young people per year are in the Youth on Track target group in NSW.
This map demonstrates the number of possible referrals per police local area command per year in NSW. Some demographic details of this group are estimated as:
71% identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
46% first involved in the criminal justice system before the age of 14
Of particular relevance is the very high proportion of young Indigenous people in the target group.