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Youth Justice NSW is working closely with the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network (in custody) and NSW Health (in the community) to prevent and manage potential and confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Youth Justice NSW (YJNSW) have developed a COVID-19 Pandemic Plan to maintain service delivery throughout the course of the pandemic. Every Youth Justice Centre has a detailed, site-specific plan, which are reviewed regularly as the situation develops.

We are also adjusting our processes to reduce risk of infection. This includes incorporating appropriate personal hygiene and social distancing practices in custodial centres and the community.

Family and social visits

All family and social visits to Youth Justice Centres have been suspended. This decision aligns with the joint decision by the National Cabinet made on Friday 20 March to suspend social visits to correctional facilities across Australia.

Visits will recommence as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Family members concerned about a young person in custody should contact 1300 135 330.

Legal and professional visitors

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 entering our custodial centres we’re restricting entry. This includes legal and professional visitors.

Contact with the legal system is not limited in any way. Young people can speak to their lawyers via audio-visual-link and telephone.

Legal professionals who need to speak to their clients can do so by contacting the relevant Youth Justice Centre.

Virtual visits

YJNSW is exploring options to increase the use of audio-visual-links to continue personal visits, including the use of tablet devices within Youth Justice centres.

Like the rest of the community, it’s critical we minimise the risk of COVID-19 entering a Youth Justice Centre. We’re doing this by:

  • Advising young people of appropriate hygiene practices
  • Receiving regular briefings from Justice Health and following their expert advice
  • Continuously updating existing contingency plans and adapting our operating procedures
  • Monitoring the health of staff attending the workplace

All staff and visitors are also subject to screening prior to entering the centre. Temperature reading equipment is also being installed with the support of Justice Health.

The Inspector of Custodial Services and NSW Ombudsman continue to have access to centres as appropriate.

YJNSW continue to manage and provide services to young people subject to community-based court orders.

To protect the safety of staff, young people, and the community, some changes have been made to normal services. Contact is being maintained with young people primarily by phone or video link.

Young people subject to community supervision must still maintain contact with their caseworker.

See contact details for all YJNSW community offices.

YJNSW is working with NSW Police to continue the delivery of Youth Justice Conferences (YJCs). YJCs are not subject to the gathering restrictions imposed by the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 as they are necessary to fulfil a legal obligation.

Convening YJCs poses some unique challenges during this period. Solutions such as reducing the number of participants, allowing video link participation, and using open-air locations for conferences to be held are being implemented, although may not be available in all situations.

YJNSW will continue to progress YJCs on a case-by-case basis wherever possible.

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Last updated: 20 Apr 2020