This paper finds that the Youth Justice Conferences scheme is more cost-effective than the Children’s Court.
The paper compares the cost-effectiveness of Youth Justice Conferences (YJCs) to matters eligible for YJCs but dealt with in the Children’s Court.
Method: The costs for Police, Legal Aid, Children’s Court, Juvenile Justice YJC administration and Juvenile Justice administration of court orders were separately estimated using a combination of top-down and bottom-up costing methods. These were combined with data from matched samples of young people who were to be dealt with by a YJC and young people who could have been dealt with by a YJC but instead were dealt with in the Children’s Court in 2007 in order to estimate average costs per person for each process.
Results: The average cost of a YJC was estimated to be about 18 per cent less than the average cost of a comparable matter dealt with in the Children’s Court. This result was robust under variation of most assumptions (or combinations of assumptions). However, if marginal costs for the Children’s Court and costs for administering Children’s Court orders are low, then it may be more efficient to deal with an additional young person by court rather than by YJC.
Conclusion: When viewed in totality, the YJC scheme is more cost-effective than the Children’s Court.