Juvenile crime laws will not make communities safer

The measures proposed in the Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 will not make communities safer, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) in a submission to the Queensland government.

“You don’t reduce juvenile crime by putting more people in detention,” says ALA Queensland state president, Mr Greg Spinda. “All the evidence from around the world tells us that the more exposure a young person has to detention centres and the criminal justice system the more likely they are to continue to reoffend.

“Unless we address the underlying causes of youth crime we will not solve this serious problem. We all want to live in safe communities but we need smarter solutions that include early intervention, restorative justice techniques and the option of secure, monitored housing for young people rather than brutal detention centres.

“The electronic bracelets proposed in the Bill are ineffective, stigmatise kids and have been known to cause vigilante action seeing as the young person can be so easily identified. It is challenging to attend school or work wearing a visible monitoring device.

“There is very little benefit in incurring the substantial cost of introducing electronic monitoring of young people on bail, given the evidence that there is no significant positive effect in terms of crime reduction.

“Importantly, the measures in the Bill will have a particularly disproportionate effect on young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are already over-represented in youth detention.

“This Bill contradicts all effective youth justice principles that promote diversion away from detention and the criminal justice system.”

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