The dual-track sentencing system is unique to Youth Justice in Victoria. It allows adult courts to sentence young adults aged 18 to 20 years to serve a custodial sentence in a Youth Justice centre rather than an adult prison if the young person is particularly impressionable, immature or likely to be subject to undesirable influences in adult prison.

In this way, the dual-track system operates as a genuine alternative to adult custody. It acknowledges the evidence that young adults can still be developing and have good prospects of rehabilitation, and that adult prison may not be the most suitable environment to maximise those prospects.

The Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre caters to the dual-track male cohort, and the Parkville Youth Justice Centre caters to the female cohort. They do this through a range of different accommodation options, including lower security and semi-independent living, vocational pathways, programs and supports.

As the Armytage Ogloff Youth Justice review notes, young adults sentenced under the dual-track system constitute a very small proportion of all young adults sentenced to adult prison or community orders.

However, it is critical that the system is effective, and we are committed to maintaining and enhancing it, and ensuring its integrity.


Reducing reoffending and promoting community safety by supporting children and young people to turn their lives around

  • Ensure that the effectiveness of the dual-track system is not undermined by young adults whose behaviour poses an unacceptable risk of serious harm, or who are repeatedly disruptive to the good order of Youth Justice’s custodial precincts.
  • As part of developing a gender-responsive operating model for girls and young women in custody, we will use age-appropriate ways of working with dual-track and other young adult women.
  • Establish a dedicated focus on vocational training at Malmsbury over the coming years, to support young people’s skill development and job pathways.