Youth justice in the Northern Territory is the responsibility of Territory Families. NT Correctional Services no longer manages youth detention.
The service level agreement is between seven government juvenile justice agencies:
- Department of Families and Communities, South Australia
- South Australia Police
- Court Administration Authority South Australia
- NT Correctional Services
- NT Police
- Department of Corrective Services, Western Australia
- Western Australia Police.
The principles underpinning the agreement echo the aims of the Cross-border Justice Scheme found in the inter-government agreement. The best interests of young people are key considerations and decisions made by parties to the service level agreement should comply with the applicable act of the home state.
- the Youth Justice Act 2006 NT section 4
- Young Offenders Act 1993 South Australia section 3
- Young Offenders Act 1994 Western Australia sections 6, 7 and 8.
Actions by officers
Part 4 outlines the circumstances in which officers will act with respect to an interstate offence:
- where the alleged offence has been committed in the cross-border region
- where a juvenile or young person has been arrested or reported in the cross- border region
- where a juvenile or young person ordinarily resides in the region
- where a juvenile or young person was dealt with by a cross-border magistrate on other matters arising from any of the states.
In Part 5, it is agreed that officers authorised by or under cross-border laws will be made available to provide assistance to cross-border magistrates and to monitor and supervise interstate offenders.
Authorised officers are to attend all sittings of the cross-border magistrates within their own state when a juvenile is appearing before the court. The juvenile justice authorised officers of other states are to cooperate with the home state in implementing any decision to breach court-ordered conditions of a juvenile being supervised in the other state, and where practicable the officer is to attend breach applications before the cross-border magistrates in the relevant state.
Part 6 says it is agreed that the supervision and discipline procedures for juvenile justice officers and youth justice conference coordinators are the responsibility of the state agency under which they hold primary office or position.
Part 9 says the home state is responsible for record management and criminal justice data related to the offence and associated activities and events, and exchange of information is agreed to that is required to facilitate the scheme and where it adheres to privacy laws and practices of their state and cross-border laws.
The allocation of jurisdictional responsibilities are agreed to for the various processes or events that juvenile justice personnel are involved in:
- cautioning, conferencing, supervision and compliance with conditions of a sentence imposed by a cross-border magistrate
- breach of court orders
- court ordered detention
- remand or police detention
- court reports requested by the cross-border magistrate
- reports to supervised release review board.
Parts 10 to 19 cover the training centre review board and parole board and say that the onus is on home state staff to provide written instructions to the other state.
With conferencing, the legislative requirements of the home state apply but other operating practices and standards of the state convening the conference are to be employed, subject to the agreement of the home state. Non-compliance with a caution and conference outcomes are to be communicated to the home state.
Home state's role
The home state and supervising authority are to liaise with regards to the supervision and compliance with conditions imposed by a cross-border magistrate, in circumstances where the young person normally resides or should reside in one of the other states, or is placed on an order and moves, or is released from detention and is living in one of the other states.
The home state is to be notified in writing of any breaches of court conditions, to enable the home state authority to make a decision about any further action.
With court-ordered detention, the decisions on the location of the detention, which are to be decided administratively, are to be based on the best interests of the young person above all considerations. Factors to consider include:
- normal place of residence
- access to treatment, family or support people
- preferences of parents or guardians
- expressed preference of the young person.
If a young person is on remand or in police detention, it is agreed that the responsibility for transportation lies with the state in which the young person is detained, and that the state needs to consult with the authority in the other state about the intent to transport and availability of placement.
Part 20 makes it clear that new programs apply only within that state’s borders and the other states are to be notified. It is agreed that any such new programs will become operational across the region only when there is written agreement between the states on operational practice and protocols.
Part 21 establishes the juvenile justice monitoring committee to monitor and assess. It meets every six months or more frequently if agreed.
Part 22 says that states bear their own costs unless otherwise agreed and training is the responsibility of each relevant government agency to ensure staff are trained and resourced to perform functions in accordance with the cross-border laws.
Part 23 says that each state is to maintain a record of direct costs so that the committee can review costs and determine whether there should be cost-sharing.