Queensland Law Society

QLS applauds banishing of archaic laws that send 17-year-olds to adult prison

Date 07 Sep 2016
Contact Tony Keim
Phone 07 3842 5835
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email media@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society has applauded the state government for moving swiftly to amend archaic laws requiring 17-year-old offenders to be sentenced and jailed as adult offenders.

Society president Bill Potts today (Wed Sept 7) praised the Palaszczuk Labor Government for acting with haste to change laws that had been in force for almost 25 years and had been abandoned long ago by every other state and territory in Australia.

“Queensland Law Society called for this prior to the last election, and has advocated consistently for this humanitarian reform, so I note with some satisfaction that the government has accepted the Society’s view on this,” Mr Potts said.

“It is one of the many reforms called for by the Society and adopted by the Palaszczuk government, and possibly the most important.

“By keeping children out of adult prisons we increase their chances of rehabilitation immeasurably, which is good for them and good for Queensland.”

Mr Potts said this issue alone was bigger than politics and called for bipartisan support of the measure, noting that as the changes would take some time to implement there was no time to waste on rhetorical debate.

“With young lives at stake, this isn’t the time for political point-scoring or ideological chest-beating, it is a time for action,” he said.

Mr Potts said that he was glad that the government was continuing its policy of consultation on legislative change, which the Society had also called for prior to the 2015 election.

“We support the government’s commitment to consult with stakeholders and are proud that Society representatives will be a part of that consultation,” he said.

“Our hard-working committees and policy team have striven for this reform over the last 18 months, and it is good to see those efforts rewarded. The Society will continue to push for good law, for the benefit of all Queenslanders, and I hope the government keeps listening.”

The government’s decision comes a week after QLS demanded the laws be amended in the wake of revelations of the harsh summary punishment inflicted on a teenage offender by guards in an adult wing of Brisbane’s Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.

ENDS

For further information, please contact Tony Keim on 07 3842 5835, mobile 0488 433 884 or via email, media@qls.com.au.