Juvenile Justice Centres

Juvenile Justice Centres

The ACMF believe in using music as an outlet that allows troubled youth in detention to express themselves in a positive way. Our music programs encourage them to engage with each other and their teachers in a co-operative, creative environment that will enhance their self-esteem and their ability to make a positive contribution to society.

We hold weekly programs in detention centres across Australia. Because our class-sizes are small, the effect of our mentoring programs is powerful, making a significant impact on the well-being of young men and women.

ACMF Juvenile Justice Centre music sessions:

  • Reduce aggression
  • Reduce self-harm
  • Reduce violence
  • Reduce negativity
  • Enhance creative expression
  • Build self-esteem

Young men and women in detention are taught many different aspects of musical expression and are mentored in creative activities, including song-writing, performance and recording. These skills provide detainees with significantly increased opportunities to engage meaningfully in the community post release. There have been detainees who have taken part in our programs who after release have enrolled in training programs for the music industry, such as audio engineering, or have continued their music making as a form of self-expression.

We give these young people the chance to look at the world through different eyes. The life they have been living, is not the only path to take. Through our music programs, we give them the creativity and imagination to make a better life for themselves – to create a future, far brighter than their past.

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Case Study

Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre

We were delighted to receive this letter from a young man who has turned his life around through music.

“My name is John. I was a detainee at Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice centre where I became involved in the ACMF music program. The program gave me my first introduction to musical theory, recording and editing software and inspired me to continue further involvement in music upon my release. 

It is now over a year since my release and I am studying audio engineering and playing the piano. I have plans to become involved in the ACMF program at Baxter once my parole period is complete. This program was a great confidence booster to myself and gave me an education I may not have gained had I not been incarcerated.”


Former detainee

Case Study

Juniperina Juvenile Justice Centre

“The program offers those involved new skills and confidence, in a time in their lives where they are more prone to negative influences than positive. ACMF programs contribute to our students’ moral and social development. Through successful learning experiences and the opportunity to contribute to a team, students gain a deeper understanding of the nature and purpose of their lives, and how they can make a positive contribution to society.  

The increased self-esteem and faith in their own ability, following participation in the ACMF program, is clearly visible even in the initial stages of the program. Our students benefit from the respect that is generated within their peer group, as a result of their work together as a team. This is a direct result of the respect the ACMF Teachers extend to the girls fostering a collaborative, creative environment, conducive to the production of quality music and self-expression.”

The staff

Juniperina JJC

Case Study

Banksia Hill Juvenile Justice Centre

Every year at Banksia, I see a very real positive change in all the students who participate in the ACMF music program. Over a short time, I see kids becoming more thoughtful, reflective, respectful as they grow and become more confident in their learning. I see a softening in the harder edges of their character as they connect with music and express themselves with music.  I see first-hand how creative expression, that happens naturally when learning music, can nurture an open and honest communication for positive mentoring and can be a positive conduit for guidance and change.

The best example of this is when many of the remote Indigenous kids are choosing a topic to construct a song around, they naturally choose- home/country/family.

The next progression is usually a reflection on behaviour and what changes need to occur when they go home. This is always heartfelt and sincere because it is in their own words and combined with music!

Another observation is that the ACMF program can be a real anchor for kids who are in a difficult environment and are going through really difficult times. The simple fact that the program is ongoing and long term means that strong positive relationships are formed and learning outcomes are achieved. The program is becoming more popular and the kids choose to do it. They really look forward to the Monday sessions.”


Banksia Hill JJC