NT Government 'preferring to lock kids up' than fix youth rehabilitation

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 07:52:06 AM. The head of the NT's only bush rehabilitation program for youth says the Government is more interested in establishing shinier new prisons than residential diversion programs which are more effective and cheaper to run.
Photo: Tim (not his real name) says programs like BushMob could help a lot of young people. (ABC News: Claire Campbell) There are fewer residential youth rehabilitation programs in the Northern Territory operating today than there were before the royal commission into the youth detention began a year ago, says last year's NT Australian of the Year. The Territory Government has tripled funding for rehabilitation and diversion programs, but BushMob CEO Will MacGregor said the Government is preferring to "lock kids up" despite promises made to fix the system following the Don Dale youth detention abuse scandal. Mr McGregor's 20-bed facility in Alice Springs is the only government-funded residential youth rehabilitation centre in the NT, and teaches life skills and discipline to 12 to 25-year-olds recovering from drug or alcohol abuse. It was where former Don Dale detainee Dylan Voller was sent following his release from prison. Mr McGregor said that despite the Government's public commitment to rehab and youth diversion over prison, no more residential facilities have been funded in the NT, and there had been no move to reinstate a Darwin-based youth rehabilitation program. Mr MacGregor said he wanted to work positively with Territory Families — or any agency — to establish another residential rehabilitation facility in the Territory, but said the Government was uncooperative. "We've seen young people that are now able to work, have returned to school, have reconnected with...Read more
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