In Orana Juvenile Justice Centre, 99% of the inmates are Aboriginal. Indigenous youths represent only 5% of young Australian people. Yet 39% of the young people in the juvenile justice system are Aboriginal.
At the Centre, I heard some of the adults telling the kids not to waste their opportunities. But what opportunities are they wasting? Australia is failing these boys. The people I spoke to expressed their concerns about young people showing up to school high on Ice. They talked about the potential drugs have to ruin lives at a young age. The more people I spoke to the more it became clear that these boys come from towns where there is nothing to do. They aren’t in juvenile detention simply because of something they did, but because they have been failed at every level. Why finish school if you know there isn’t going to be a job waiting for you? Why believe in yourself when you have systematically been shown that you, your people and your family are not good enough? MB.