U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Trends in Juvenile Detention in Australia

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2009
8 pages
This report from the Australian Institute of Criminology presents an overview of key trends in juvenile detention in Australia since 1981.
Highlights from this report include: since 1981, there has been an overall national decline in the number and rate of adolescents aged 10 to 17 in juvenile detention in Australia, with the period between 1981 and 2002 showing the largest drop, a decline of 61 percent; since 2004, a slow but steady increase in the number and rates of juveniles in detention in the country has occurred in some jurisdictions due to legislative, policy, and demographic changes; detention rates in New South Wales have mirrored those at the national level, while rates in Victoria have been consistently lower than the national average since 1991 due to that territory's strong emphasis on diverting juveniles from the criminal justice system; since 1981, the rate of detention for males has been consistently higher than the detention rate for females; and the rate of detention for Indigenous juveniles has been substantially larger than that for non-Indigenous juveniles. This report contains an overview of key trends in juvenile detention rates in Australia since 1981. Data for this report were obtained from the Australian Institute of Criminology's Juveniles in Detention in Australia Monitoring Program database. The database contains annual information submitted by States and Territories on the ages, sex, indigenous status, and legal status of all juveniles in detention in Australia. The paper presents highlights of the key trends observed in the data: a substantial increase in the proportion of juvenile detainees remanded to custody, rather than sentenced; and the over-representation of Indigenous juveniles in juvenile detention in Australia. Figures, tables, and references

Date Published: June 1, 2009