Locking up kids won’t work: QLS

The State Government’s new youth justice proposals won’t address underlying causes of crime, QLS says.

The Government yesterday announced reforms to the Charter of Youth Justice Principles, including the removal of the principle of “detention as a punishment of last resort”, which has deeply concerned the Society.

“The new provision will result in more children being placed in watch houses, which are already at capacity,” QLS President Rebecca Fogerty said.

“The change will lead to more children being sentenced to detention, which will not address the underlying causes of crime,” Rebecca said.
“We welcome the acknowledgement from the Government that youth crime is complex, with ripple effects throughout the community, requiring a multi-disciplinary approach through social services, education, work and health accessibility.
“However, if simply locking up children and young people made the community safer, Queensland would have one of the lowest youth crime rates in the country. Queensland incarcerates more young people than any other state in Australia.

 “While detention is needed in serious cases, leadership is required to address the root causes. The answer does not lie in harsher penalties or creating new offences.

“Our highly trained judges and magistrates are best placed to balance the rights of victims and children, and there are already circumstances where community safety overrides the rights of the child.”


QLS’s criticisms have been echoed by the community sector, including the Queensland Council of Social Service, the Queensland Human Rights Commission and the Youth Advocacy Centre.

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3 Responses

  1. agree with Trevor – also disagree with comment about highly trained judges and magistrates – my recent experiences show this is far from the truth – further the law society has its head in the sand about this issue

  2. Thank you, QLS.

    Thinking about youth justice, the issue quickly snowballs into societal matters of mental health diagnosis, community activities, public transport, early intervention at schools etc. An increase in youth crime reflects poor government. When Government then points the finger at children, poor government is confirmed. When society’s response reflects the government’s dismissiveness, hope for the future is lost.

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