Eric Ripper

Eric Ripper

-

    Monitoring of hard-core juvenile offenders progressing

    6/01/1993 12:00 AM
     
     
    Hard-core juvenile car thieves, robbers and other serious young offenders are now under the scrutiny of a special taskforce after being released from detention.
     
    The $1.2 million taskforce is monitoring newly-released serious offenders and using personal mentors to keep them out of trouble.
     
    The initiative - co-ordinated by the Youth Justice Bureau - is part of a new direction in community-based juvenile justice strategies, with mentors chosen from local areas and backgrounds most relevant to offenders and their families.
     
    The aim is to involve released serious offenders in education, employment, training and recreation, to break the cycle of crime. Mentors will make about ten hours' contact with offenders each week during evenings, weekends, or other appropriate times.
     
    More than 70 mentors, from a broad range of community backgrounds, have been recruited to help the taskforce work with individual former offenders and their families.  A further 53 are in the process of being assessed.
     
    Twelve mentors are now working on a one-to-one practical hands-on basis with individual young people, and the taskforce is involved with a total of 32 young offenders and their families.
     
    Youth Justice Minister Eric Ripper today marked the first month of the taskforce's work by addressing team members and some of the mentors.
     
    Mr Ripper said the taskforce was striking at the very heart of the problem of serious juvenile crime, because a relatively small number of offenders was thought to be responsible for about half the major juvenile crime in Perth.
     
    "This hard-core element of offenders really represents the public face of juvenile crime and is responsible for the sort of offences which have caused great concern in the community," the Minister said.
     
    "For example, one mentor is working with a 17-year-old boy who has 56 convictions and whose record runs to 33 pages.  The mentor has convinced the boy to undertake drug treatment."
     
    The experience of mentors who worked in the Department for Community Development was that intense personal contact achieved significant results.  Department mentors had in the past found work for young offenders, ensured their attendance at drug rehabilitation agencies and dramatically reduced the incidence of re-offending.