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Custodial services

The agency's youth custodial services provide secure and safe care of young offenders who are sentenced to custody by the courts or who are remanded to custody in a Youth Justice centre pending the finalisation of their court matters.


  • To ensure Youth Justice Centres meet legal requirements in accordance with the Children (Detention Centres) Act, 1987. The Act governs under what circumstances youth offenders may be confined to a detention centre, the treatment of detainees, the granting to a detainee of leave from a Youth Justice centre and discharge from a centre.
  • Ensure the implementation of comprehensive case management and program interventions for young people in custody.
  • Wherever possible, ensure young people are geographically close to their community and family.
  • To provide a safe, humane and secure environment for young people and staff.
  • Provide age and gender appropriate programs that aim to address the offending and developmental needs of young people in custody.


There are seven Youth Justice centres in NSW

All custodial facilities provide an extensive range of educational, recreational, vocational, specialised counselling and personal development programs. Youth Justice NSW provides individual case management to detainees to plan for their positive reintegration into their communities.


Psychologists and counsellors provide psychological services to young people, including assessment, counselling and group work. They advise staff in Youth Justice centres regarding case management and also provide reports on detainees to the courts.

Youth Justice, through subsidies to the various member religious bodies of the Civil Chaplains Advisory Committee, engages full-time and part-time chaplains to provide religious and spiritual support to young people in detention.

Young people in custody from diverse faiths such as Islam and Buddhism are also provided with religious support and counsel by people from their communities of faith visit who centres regularly or as needed.

The Post Release Support Program is a 12-week program designed to achieve a reduction in the number of detainees who re-offend after release from a Youth Justice centre. The primary purpose of the program is to help them successfully re-integrate into the community.

Serious young offenders review panel (SYORP)

The Serious Young Offenders Review Panel (SYORP) was established as a recommendation under the NSW Juvenile Justice Advisory Council's (JJAC) Green Paper (published in 1993). SYORP is an independent body which makes recommendations to the Executive Director, Youth Justice, on the reclassification of and the granting of leave to detainees on Serious Children's Indictable Offences and on any other matter referred to it by the Director General or Minister. Meetings are held monthly.

The panel's role is complex as it seeks to balance the expectations of the community with needs and expectations of the young persons and their families in accordance with the relevant legislation and agency guidelines.

The panel consists of community representatives with an understanding of community expectations and expertise on youth justice issues. Members of the panel are appointed by the Minister and approved by Cabinet. The composition of the panel is:

  • A Magistrate (Chairperson)

  • An independent person with qualifications in psychology

  • An independent community person with expertise in dealing with youth generally

  • A member of the Indigenous community

  • A victim of crime

  • A delegate of the Executive Director of Youth Justice NSW, as an ex-officio member.