O'Farrell shuts down Youth Drug and Alcohol Court
The O'Farrell Government's decision to axe the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court - which diverts young offenders into specialist treatment programs – puts cost cutting above the rehabilitation of young people, the NSW Labor Opposition said today.
The Youth Drug and Alcohol Court, which has operated for 12 years, was shut down on Sunday by Attorney General Greg Smith.
"The O'Farrell Government's decision to axe the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court is a disgraceful move that puts cost cutting above the rehabilitation of young people," Shadow Attorney General, Paul Lynch said.
"We know our justice system is already stretched. Closing the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court will only make things worse.
"The long term cost of not diverting young offenders from future substance abuse and greater criminality will be far higher than whatever the government saves by closing the court.
"The Government's decision to shut the court down without warning last week is all about saving dollars, and not social outcomes.
"The Youth Drug and Alcohol Court was developed following a recommendation from the Drug Summit in 1999 and has been positively evaluated several times.
"The court operated at Campbelltown, Parramatta and Bidura, with program offices also at Surry Hills, Blacktown and Liverpool.
"In 2009, the Liverpool program even won a Juvenile Justice Excellence Award.
"It is clear this is another decision by the O'Farrell Government that puts cost cutting above the needs of some of the most vulnerable young people in our community."
Tags: community, crime, Greg Smith, law and order, Paul Lynch, youth