Time will tell whether the Premier's decision to announce the closure of the Ashley Youth Detention Centre was as wise as it was abrupt, or whether it will join a list of calls that look nowhere near as good in the rear view mirror as they might have originally seemed.
These calls include the shutdown and sale of the Hayes prison farm - a decision that has subsequently been shown to be flawed and is now widely regretted.
Health professionals also are questioning the closure of the state's mental health hospital and the consequent impact on both patients and mainstream health services.
As with every significant institution, it has not always been plain sailing.
Ashley has been hampered over the years by a lack of investment, lack of professional development for staff and, although it has enjoyed strong support from Deloraine and the Meander Valley, a lack of appreciation in the wider Tasmanian community of the difficulties of the job.
As is the way these days, its shortcomings have been on prominent display while its successes have been largely ignored.
One of the most prominent criticisms over the years is that rather than reforming young lives, Ashley served as a training ground for career criminals. There was some substance to that criticism in the past because of the former practice of routinely remanding young people initially facing the court system to Ashley, where they mixed with more serious or repeat offenders.
As one of the many attempts over the years to improve Ashley and the wider youth justice system, I chaired a 2007 Legislative Council Select Committee inquiry into Ashley, Youth Justice and Detention. The committee made 32 recommendations, of which, almost all were eventually implemented.
These included changes in remand policy, prioritising the diversion of young offenders from custodial youth justice in all but the most serious cases, as well as upgrading the Ashley school and vocational training.
As a result, Ashley now is barely recognisable from the Ashley of old. Instead of a FIRST resort, it has become a place of LAST resort where the Youth Court determines all other avenues have been exhausted and a young person's offending is sufficiently serious to require secure detention.
That means the number of young people in custody at Ashley has come tumbling down to the point where the average is around nine or ten detainees at any one time.
At the same time, investment in facilities and staff has increased, allowing more intensive efforts to turn around these young lives.
For instance, the teacher to student ratio in the Ashley school and training programmes is around 1:1 - a level unheard of in mainstream educational facilities.
Every effort is made to provide young people with practical skills to assist their return to the community and many staff and youth workers say Ashley is now working better than ever.
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