Young persons sentenced to a custodial term are housed at Melbourne Youth Justice Centre unless the Youth Parole Board may order a young offender be released on parole. Parole is granted with conditions and may be cancelled at any time.
Young people in detention
After a magistrate has decided that a young person is to be placed in custody, they will be taken to the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre, unless bail has been granted.
The CYFA (s 482(2)) states that young people in detention are entitled to:
•have their developmental needs catered for;
•be visited by their family and their lawyer (subject to s 501 CYFA);
•have reasonable efforts made to meet their medical, religious and cultural needs;
•receive information about the rules of the detention centre, and the rights and responsibilities of the centre’s staff and detained young people;
•complain to the secretary of the DHHS or the ombudsman about the standard of care, accommodation or treatment; and
•be informed of the above entitlements.
During the term of the sentence, a young person can be given a permit for temporary leave of absence to work, attend school, participate in a sporting or recreational activity, attend a hospital or medical appointment, attend a funeral, assist the police, seek work or live in specified accommodation (e.g. a hostel) (s 485 CYFA). The young person must carry the permit at all times during the temporary leave.
The Youth Parole Board may order a young offender to be released on parole (s 458 CYFA). The board can cancel parole at any time (s 460 CYFA). If a young person is sentenced to more than three months at a youth detention centre for a further offence committed during parole, the Youth Parole Board may cancel that parole, even if the period of parole has ended (s 460(4) CYFA).
The Youth Parole Board has the power, if cancelling parole, to deduct the time or part of the time spent on parole (having regard to the extent and manner in which the young person complied with the parole order) in determining the unexpired portion of detention (s 460(7) CYFA).
The Youth Parole Board has the power to transfer a young person from a youth justice centre to prison in certain circumstances (s 467 CYFA). In exercising its duties, the Youth Parole Board is not bound by the rules of natural justice (s 449 CYFA). This means that, among other things, a young person does not have an automatic right to be heard or represented before the Youth Parole Board.
The CYFA also provides for a Youth Residential Board, which has similar powers to the Youth Parole Board, but in respect to young people in youth residential centres (ss 431–441, 454–457).