Young people: going to a detention centre

This page has information for parents and family members of young people who have come into contact with police and have to go to court.

In the Northern Territory (NT) a young person can be:

  • remanded in a detention centre for a period of time while waiting for their court appearance
  • sentenced to a period of time in detention by the courts if they are convicted of a criminal offence.

There are two youth detention centres in the NT:

Young people remanded in detention

Young people aged between 10 and 17 may be sent to a detention centre in Alice Springs or Darwin on remand.

Remand is a word used to describe the time a young person has to stay in the detention centre while they wait for their court case to be finished.

A young person can be sent to a detention centre on remand by the police or the courts if they are not given bail.

While in detention, a young person might speak to an official visitor. Their job is to check on the conditions and treatment of youth detainees.

If a young person has a concern, they can ask to speak to an official visitor.

Young people sentenced to detention

Young people aged between 10 and 17 years old may be sentenced to a detention centre for a period of time decided by the courts.

For more information about sentencing go to types of sentences for young people.

They will be given their sentence by the court once their case is finished.

Young people access educational and work-ready programs at detention centres.

They are supported by staff to find out the cause of their offending behaviour, and may have to take part in programs that address anti-social and criminal behaviour.

When they have completed their sentence, they will be released from the detention centre.

If a young person turns 18 years old and they are still on remand or serving a sentence, they may be transferred to an adult corrections facility in either Darwin or Alice Springs.

How to submit a complaint about a detention centre

If you are concerned about the treatment of a young person in a detention centre in Darwin or Alice Springs, you should contact the Northern Territory Children’s Commissioner.

Last updated: 07 July 2022

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