Youth justice conferencing and indigenous over-representation in the Queensland juvenile justice system: a micro-simulation case study
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Restorative justice conferencing for young offenders is firmly established in Australian juvenile justice, and legislated conferencing schemes are operating in all Australian states and territories. While there is some variation in the terms used to describe restorative justice conferences (e.g., family group conferencing, family conferencing, or youth justice conferencing), there is much more consistency in how the conferencing process is managed across Australian jurisdictions. In Queensland youth justice conferencing is a process that brings together an offender, the victim and their supporters to discuss the harm caused by the offending behaviour and provide the young person with an opportunity to take responsibility for his or her behaviour and make amends. This paper begins by briefly sketching the development of restorative justice conferencing in Queensland and describes the Juvenile Justice Simulation Model (JJSM), a micro-simulation model developed for criminal justice policy analysis in Queensland, Australia. We use this micro-simulation model to conduct an experimental exploration of the effects that youth justice conferencing has on system-wide outcomes for indigenous young people. The model simulates the impact of interventions up until 2011 on the number of finalised youth justice court appearances. Our results indicate that youth justice conferencing is unlikely to reduce the over-representation of indigenous young people in the juvenile justice system. The simulations demonstrated that, by the 2011, youth justice conferencing would result in a 12.5% decrease in finalised court appearances. Unfortunately, this decrease was more apparent for non-indigenous young people (13.7% decrease in court appearances) than for indigenous young people, who had a 10.5% decrease in court appearances. This differential impact of conferencing is due to the different court appearance profiles between indigenous and non-indigenous young offenders, with indigenous young people initiating offending at an earlier age and offending more frequently than non-indigenous young offenders.
Journal of Experimental Criminology
Copyright 2008 Springer Netherlands. This is an electronic version of an article published in Journal of Experimental Criminology, [Volume, Issue, Pages, Year]. Journal of Experimental Criminology is available online at: http://www.springerlink.com/ with the open URL of your article.
Correctional Theory, Offender Treatment and Rehabilitation