ONE in 12 young people in Banksia Hill Detention Centre from 2015 to 2016 was from Armadale.
In the City of Gosnells, more than a third of high school students miss more than one month of school per year.
They are just some of the statistics in a new report from the Youth Partnership Project (YPP), which aims to change the story for young people in the area by connecting at-risk youth with the right service at the right time.
YPP’s education and justice research shows that a quarter of all inmates at Banksia Hill are from the southeastern corridor of Perth and despite high expenditure on corrective services, one in two of these detained young people return to the justice system within two years.
“Just today, today alone, we’ve spent $130,000 on locking up Western Australian young people,” Karina Chicote, YPP manager and Place-Based Strategies for Save the Children Australia manager said at the report launch.
“And we will spend that tomorrow and the day after, until by the end of this year, we would have spent $48 million just on locking up young people.
“What we are doing isn’t quite working.”
Ms Chicote said the figures indicated the current system was flawed but the data showed youth at risk could be identified and assisted.
“We know that we can predict the next young people who are going to end up in our detention centres,” Ms Chicote said.
“The fact that we can predict that is not good enough. If you can predict who they’re going to be, then surely together, we can actually prevent that path.”
The YPP, steered by Save the Children Australia, established the Armadale Youth Intervention Partnership (AYIP) to assist young people at risk of offending in the area with early, targeted support.
Local brothers Jake and Brody participated in the 2016 AYIP January School Holiday Program, and have since been named the City of Armadale’s Young Citizens of the Year and returned to the program to become mentors.
Burt MP Matt Keogh told Comment News AYIP was crucial proof that similar programs could work.
“We can change the story of the results we’re seeing, of too many young people going into juvenile detention again and again, instead of getting their lives on track,” Mr Keogh said.
“I really hope that the impact of this report is that it provides government with the necessary evidence to say funding these programs, and indeed expanding them, is worthy, and you’ll get the benefit not just for the individual, not just for the community, but also to the budget bottom line.”