Tough but fair reforms tackle youth crime


Tough but fair reforms targeting repeat juvenile offenders and Queensland’s growing youth crime problem have been passed in Parliament.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie said the Government was delivering on its promise to Queenslanders to overhaul the youth justice system.

“This is about stopping the revolving door of repeat offending that was left to spin out of control by the former Labor Government,” Mr Bleijie said.

“Due to mismanagement and slaps on the wrist by the former Government, we now have a cohort of young offenders with shocking, serious criminal histories before they’re old enough to get their L plates.

“Last year 400 young people were charged with more than 7,000 offences while on bail.

“Our tough, necessary and fair reforms will make recidivist offenders more accountable for their actions but will also provide opportunities for them to turn their lives around.”

Reforms include:
•Allowing the identities of repeat offenders to be published by the media. The publishing of first time offenders will continue to be prohibited.
•A new offence for breach of bail.
•Making all juvenile criminal histories available in adult courts to give a Magistrate or Judge a complete understanding of a defendant’s history
•Removing detention as a last resort to give the court more discretion during sentencing
•Transferring juvenile offenders to adult correctional centres when they reach 17 years of age if they have six or more months of their sentence remaining.

“Many of these reforms specifically target repeat offenders, not kids who make a silly mistake and learn from it,” Mr Bleijie said.

“The Government listened during the committee process and, to combat a worrying car theft problem in Townsville, repeat vehicle offenders in the area will now be sentenced to a mandatory boot camp order.

“In our boot camps, participants are taught discipline and self-respect and they have access to programs that will help them continue their education or get a job.

“Our boot camp trial teaches discipline and life skills and it has been described as a ‘welcome innovation’ by President of the Children’s Court Justice Michael Shanahan.

“So far 85 young Queenslanders have taken part in the camps and parents and teachers have noticed big, positive changes in their behaviour.

“We will soon unveil the next phase in our youth justice overhaul, which will focus on prevention and addressing the cause of repeat offending.

“The Government’s Blueprint for the Future of Youth Justice in Queensland will be a key component of the Government’s youth justice reforms.

“The Blueprint will include long term, evidence-based reform and the close engagement of partner agencies and organisations in the delivery of integrated services to at-risk children.

“We are keeping our promise to Queenslanders to get tough on arrogant repeat offenders while ensuring Queensland’s at-risk young people are supported and assisted.”