Legislative Council: Tuesday, September 06, 2022


Youth Detention

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (15:21): Further supplementary: does the minister consider that that more than $3,000 per child per day would be better spent on early intervention programs to reduce the harm of sending children to prison?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:21): I agree that we need to do more in early intervention and look at ways to reduce the number of not just children but people who come into contact with the justice system. I haven't got the stat, but it is something like 50 per cent of those between 10 and 13 in our youth detention system are Aboriginal children. That is of great concern when Aboriginal people make up around 2 per cent of the South Australian population.

It is certainly something we are looking at. We have a commitment that later this year we will be starting on a commission into Aboriginal incarceration rates, primarily focused on adult incarceration, but certainly we will have a look at youth detention of Aboriginal children. Anything we can do to stop particularly children having contact with the justice system is a good thing.