Detention and parole for young people

Young people in detention

After a magistrate has decided that a young person is to be placed in custody, they will be taken to the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre, unless bail has been granted. 

The Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) (‘CYF Act’) (s 482(2)) states that young people in detention are entitled to: 

  • have their developmental needs catered for;
  • be visited by their family and their lawyer (subject to s 501);
  • have reasonable efforts made to meet their medical, religious and cultural needs;
  • receive information about the rules of the detention centre, and the rights and responsibilities of the centre’s staff and detained young people;
  • complain to the Secretary of the Victorian Government Department of Families, Fairness and Housing or the Ombudsman about the standard of care, accommodation or treatment; and
  • be informed of the above entitlements.

During the term of the sentence, a young person can be given a permit for temporary leave of absence to work, attend school, participate in a sporting or recreational activity, attend a hospital or medical appointment, attend a funeral, assist the police, seek work or live in specified accom­modation (e.g. a hostel) (s 485). The young person must carry the permit at all times during the temporary leave.

Young people and parole

The Youth Parole Board may order a young offender to be released on parole (s 458 CYF Act). The board can cancel parole at any time (s 460). If a young person is sentenced to more than three months at a youth detention centre for a further offence committed during parole, the Youth Parole Board may cancel that parole, even if the period of parole has ended (s 460(4)).

The Youth Parole Board has the power, if cancelling parole, to deduct the time or part of the time spent on parole (having regard to the extent and manner in which the young person complied with the parole order) in determining the unexpired portion of detention (s 460(7)).

The Youth Parole Board has the power to transfer a young person from a youth justice centre to prison in certain circumstances (s 467). In exercising its duties, the Youth Parole Board is not bound by the rules of natural justice (s 449). This means that, among other things, a young person does not have an automatic right to be heard or represented before the Youth Parole Board.

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