SSP Seminar | Police perspectives on why “admission of guilt” is not working in youth diversionary schemes in NSW
Monday 14 September, 1- 2PM via Zoom. Please contact Dinesh Wadiwel for Zoom link.
Diversion from formal proceedings through the Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW) (YOA) is only available if an ‘admission of guilt’ has been made by the offender. Young people are often reluctant to admit guilt to the police. Acknowledgement of this has in recent years resulted in the development of the Protection Admission Scheme (PAS) aimed at removing this barrier to diversion. To date, there has been no published review on how the PAS is functioning and being viewed by the police. This article begins to address this gap. The paper outlines critical features governing diversion in NSW (regarding the ‘admission of guilt’) before moving to an analysis of the finding derived from 6 in-depth interviews with members of NSW Police Force. The article highlights two processes hindering the use of PAS. First, it emphasises a problem of crime policy and the law: a systematic fault or contradiction between policy and its administration; thus, it emphasises the need for research/evidence-led policy. Second, it highlights the issue of police culture and traditional practices fostering resistance to the application of PAS. Concluding it is claimed that the PAS is unhelpful in removing the barrier to diversion. The findings provide valuable insights for youth policymakers.
About the Speaker
Estrella Pearce is a lecturer in criminology at the Department of Sociology and Social Policy in July 2019. She completed her PhD in 2019. Her thesis – ‘Under-utilisation of youth diversion: exploring multiple perspectives’ focuses on the institutional factors and individual actors directly involved in the application of the Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW) to explain the wide failure to divert in NSW. Estrella’s main areas of research include restorative justice practices, particularly in the context of youth justice. She also has an interest in exploring the various ways in which the broader social/political and micro institutional practices within the criminal justice system, affect young women and young Indigenous people.