Youth justice reforms to make our community safer

30 Sep 2013 12:00 PMJann Stuckey

30 September 2013

Member for Currumbin, Jann Stuckey MP said residents’ concerns have been heard loud and clear when it comes to youth justice, with the Newman Government announcing a range of tough reforms that will strengthen the system.

“These proposed amendments are welcome news for Currumbin locals, and will specifically target repeat young offenders,” Ms Stuckey said.

“We are committed to keeping our community safe. I share resident’s frustrations with what has been a revolving door of repeat offending for many young people.

“In the past year, 400 young people have been charged with more than 7000 offences while on bail across Queensland.  That is unacceptable and the Newman Government is doing something about it.   “To make them more accountable for their actions, the identities of repeat young offenders will soon be publishable.   “Magistrates will be able to close the court under certain circumstance and some reporting restrictions will remain. Publishing the identity of first time offenders will continue to be prohibited.

“This strikes a balance between giving kids who have made a mistake a chance to clean up their act whilst setting a strong deterrent for recidivism.

“A new offence for breaching bail, with a maximum penalty of one year in detention, will also be created to tackle reoffending.

Other reforms include: • 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.

“These reforms are tough but necessary because the former Labor Government’s ‘slap on wrist’ approach has bred a generation of arrogant repeat young offenders,” Ms Stuckey said.   “It follows extensive consultation with our community, including the Newman Government’s Safer Streets Crime Action Plan survey.

“The amendments were overwhelmingly supported by more than 4000 respondents, who were mostly victims of crime.

“These reforms are part of our blueprint for the future of youth justice which has already made great progress.

“We have implemented new laws that force graffiti vandals to clean up their mess, allow the crushing and indefinite seizure of hoons’ cars and increase penalties for assaulting and evading police.

“We are also working to divert young people away from detention and a life of crime through our expanded boot camp trial.  The early intervention Gold Coast camp is already being hailed as a success and the roll out of further camps in north Queensland, Rockhampton and the Fraser/Sunshine Coast is on track.”

[ENDS] 2013