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Date posted: 22 April 2014
Juvenile detention centres in Western Australia (WA) are being considered for mining magnate Andrew Forrest's federally funded scheme that trains Indigenous people for direct jobs.
If the scheme is extended to the centres, it will see juvenile offenders connected with training and jobs while they are still incarcerated. Under the trial, officers from Mr Forrest's Vocational, Training and Employment Centres (VTECs), in collaboration with GenerationOne, would be placed in the juvenile detention centres with a view for the scheme to be rolled out nationally.
The WA Department of Corrective Services said yesterday it had under consideration a pilot program with GenerationOne and VTECs. Corrective Services Commissioner James McMahon said while talks were in their infancy, the programs were a good fit with his department’s model of reducing reoffending through post-release employment and education. He said the department last year directly assisted 162 prisoners into employment and 2,611 others were given employment and career guidance. 'We are determined to build on those figures as well as focus our efforts on diverting young people from further involvement in the justice system.'
Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council Warren Mundine said if the trial was successful, he would like the pilot to be national, noting that reducing Indigenous incarceration rates was a priority of the Advisory Council. Mr Mundine said using the VTEC centres to directly divert offenders from crime was supported by his council and was the first chance to break the cycle. 'I think it is quite revolutionary, and I congratulate the thinking of the West Australian government and its bureaucracy.'
Source: The Australian