The Tasmanian Government will raise the minimum age of detention from 10 to 14 as part sweeping reforms of the state’s youth justice system.

The island state’s Youth Minister Roger Jaensch revealed on Wednesday the government would instead boost prevention and intervention programs, divert youth from the formal court system and implement community-based sentencing options.

Mr Jaensch said detention did not support rehabilitation or reduce the likelihood of re-offending for younger children.

“Early exposure to a detention environment can also further traumatise young people, expose them to problem behaviours of older detainees and increase criminal networks,” he said.

“There will always be a need for secure detention as a last resort for a very small minority of young people who commit the most serious offences, and to ensure community safety.

“This change will help ensure that the detention of young people in Tasmania is truly a last resort.”

Exceptions for serious crimes and community safety have been flagged as part of the changes, as has ensuring police maintain the power to arrest.

And while the age of detention has been increased, Mr Jaensch said a similar move for the age of criminal responsibility remained under consideration.

The move was welcomed across the other side of the country by Social Reinvestment WA, which described it as a positive first step to keeping young people out of prison.