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State government ditches plan to close troubled Parkville Youth Justice Centre, scales down new youth supermax facility

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The Andrews Government has backed down on its promise to close the troubled Parkville Youth Justice Centre.

On Friday night the state government quietly revealed the changes to Victoria’s youth justice system.

The high security Cherry Creek Youth Justice Centre, which under construction in Melbourne’s west, will have 100 fewer beds than initially planned.

Cherry Creek, which was slated to replace the Parkville juvenile prison, was initially set to house 240 offenders, but will now open in 2021 with just 140 beds.

Commissioner for Children and Young People, Liana Buchanan, said she welcomes the announcement.

“They’ve listened to the advice of experts, and ultimately they’re going to do what’s better for the children and young people in there, for their prospects of rehabilitation, and ultimately for community safety,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

Ms Buchanan said the state government’s revised youth justice plan will achieve better outcomes for young offenders.

“If you have a facility where you can separate out kids, where you can have them accommodated in smaller units and you can actually make sure that you’re delivering the services that those kids need to help them change, surely that’s got to be better,” Ms Buchanan said.

“At the moment, unfortunately, we know most of the time they’re coming out more likely to re-offend than not, and that’s not helping any of us.”

But Ms Buchanan said significant changes need to be made to the Parkville facility to bring it up to standard.

“When I go into Parkville … it’s more austere, movement is more limited, it’s more intimidating and imposing than any maximum security adult prison in this state,” she said.

“It is not fit for 10 to 14 year olds, it is not fit for young girls, it is not fit as a youth justice facility.”

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