Peer-reviewed report finds positive outcomes from NSW Youth Koori Court

By Anna Macdonald

May 16, 2022

Law courts signage
(AAP Image/Peter Rae)

A peer-reviewed report published by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has concluded the Youth Koori Court (YKC) did manage to prevent young Aboriginal people from going into the criminal justice system.

The impact of the NSW Youth Koori Court on sentencing and re-offending outcomes’ report cautions, however, that its authors, Evarn J Ooi and Sara Rahman, are not confident the correlation absolutely means causation.

According to the report’s findings, those participating in YKC are 5.9% less likely to be sentenced to a juvenile control order. 

The NSW YKC was established in 2015 in an effort to address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system. If a person is found to be eligible for the program, with sentencing deferred for up to a year, a case-management plan is set up to address underlying risk factors.

The report names those factors as one of the benefits of the program, as it gives magistrates more information about the person, with the case-management plan also giving the young person to show their commitment to rehabilitation. 

Part of the case-management program involves the participation of the community, including Aboriginal elders. 

Although the program appeared to reduce the incarceration rate, the report noted the high level of resources necessary to implement the program. If expanded, this intensity of resources necessary could diminish the efficacy of the YKC in areas lacking community support and spread the resources that are available thinly. 

In the state, Aboriginal youth represent 40% of all people in youth detention centres despite only making up 5.3% of the population. 


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