THE IDENTITIES of repeat juvenile offenders will be allowed to be published by the media under new laws introduced to Parliament this week as part of the Newman Government’s commitment to overhauling the youth justice system.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie admitted the overdue reforms targeting repeat juvenile offenders were tough, but said they were ‘fair and necessary’.
A new specific breach of bail offence will be created where repeat offenders will face a maximum one year in detention.
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The criminal histories of all juvenile offenders will also be made available in adult courts, giving a Magistrate or Judge a complete understanding of a defendant’s history.
Furthermore, the new laws would see juvenile offenders transferred to adult correctional centres once they reached the aged of 17 and had six or more months of their sentence remaining.
Publishing the identities of first time offenders will remain prohibited.
“We are cracking down on dangerous, repeat young offenders but also helping at-risk young people find a better path in life,” Mr Bleijie said. “The number and seriousness of offences committed by young people have been growing at an alarming rate for years.
“In just the last financial year, the number of cases dealt with in the Children’s Court rose by more than 10 percent and the number of offences increased by more than 20 per cent.
“We now worryingly have a cohort of young offenders who have become hardened criminals before they’re even old enough to get their L plates and that’s why we have had to act.
“Many of these reforms specifically target repeat offenders, not kids who make a silly mistake and learn from it.
“They also build upon the success of the Government’s boot camp trial, which was recently described as a ‘welcome innovation’ by President of the Children’s Court, Justice Michael Shanahan,” Mr Bleijie said.
The state government now have early intervention camps running on the Gold Coast, Fraser/Sunshine Coast, Rockhampton and a sentenced boot camp servicing the Townsville/Cairns region.
Mr Bleijie said participants are taught discipline and self-respect
“The camps also include programs that will help them continue their education or get a job and parents and teachers have noticed dramatic changes in their behaviour,” Mr Bleijie said.