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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3236 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

problem of kids with difficulties from a compassionate point of view: trying to give them a different direction rather than exacting some sort of vengeance for the crimes.

What also comes out of the report for me is a recognition that even kids at the point of going to Quamby are not hardened criminals. We still have the opportunity with the most difficult ones, by the time they go to Quamby, of giving them an alternative and redressing some of the difficulties that created the environment in which they went off the rails and ended up in Quamby-poverty born of lack of skills, opportunity and education, and drug abuse. Quamby is able to address the reasons why these kids have turned to drugs and turned to crime.

They are not going to get it right in every single case. We know that some of the people will graduate from Quamby to the criminal system. But a measure of the success of Quamby-one of our committees was told-is that in 1996 or thereabouts the recidivism rate was around 30 per cent and, I recall, three years ago it was down to five per cent. Something is happening in Quamby that is working, and I think that needs to be recorded and congratulations need to be given.

Where Labor is coming from is that the difference between a prison and a youth detention centre hinges on the nature of the resocialisation that has to occur. If an adult goes to a prison and we are to be compassionate, restoring them to the community and restoring the community after damage, we have to destroy the norms and the paradigms which led these people into a criminal way of life. Then we have to reshape and resocialise them and then restore them to the community.

The difference with young people is that those norms and paradigms are not yet fully formed. In some cases they are, and there is not a lot we can do about that within the juvenile justice system. But for most of these kids, as proven by the successful attack on the recidivism rate, norms and paradigms have not fully formed. So we have an opportunity to intervene and help shape the kids and, as Mr Berry pointed out, the time to do that is when they are at school and are at risk of leaving school. And in regard to why they would be-the social issues surrounding the young person's friends outside school, the whole family environment-there is a whole suite of things we can do to try to prevent kids turning that way.

An example of another good interventionist program is the police scouts program-great program, terrific idea. It takes away the "them and us" syndrome between the police and young people. The idea is that organisations like police scouts will do the guys at Quamby out of a job. I say all power to their arm.

But make no mistake, the difference for Labor between the proposed prison and Quamby is that we have an opportunity in Quamby, if we concentrate on the educational and interventionist aspects and on the reshaping and redirection of these young people, to stop them going to the prison, where there is a completely different mindset. What we believe-and it comes through in this report as well-is that two different mindsets need to be applied to the problem of justice for young people and the problem of justice for adults. It comes through in recommendation 13, in the paragraph following the one that Mr Moore quoted, which recommends:

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