Queensland Law Society

QLS says youth justice reforms long time coming but necessary

Date 30 Jan 2018
Contact Tony Keim
Phone 07 3842 5835
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email media@qls.com.au

Queensland’s peak legal group has praised the state government for new youth justice laws that will finally see 17-year-old offenders treated as children rather than adults.

Queensland Law Society president Ken Taylor today (Tues Jan 30) welcomed the state government’s announcement laws condemning 17-year-old offenders to be housed in adult jails and dealt with by the adult criminal justice system had finally been dispatched to the dark annals of history.

“Queensland Law Society has advocated strongly for this reform and we are delighted these new reforms will come into effect within weeks,” Mr Taylor said.

“Queensland is the last Australian state or territory to unfairly dispatch 17-year-old offenders to be dealt with by the harsher penalties handed out to adult criminals.

“Although these reforms have been a long time, we as a community should be grateful to those in the legal profession, youth advocacy organisations and finally the government to ensuring 17 year olds are no longer second-class citizens in Queensland.”

Mr Taylor said there was little doubt the damage done to youth offenders when exposed to hardened criminals was difficult to reverse and often lead to a greater chance of them re-offending or spiraling uncontrollably toward a life of crime.

“Youth offenders have a great chance of rehabilitation if given the opportunity, but being forced to survive in the harsh world of adult offenders reduces those chances markedly,” Mr Taylor said.

“The Society has campaigned long and hard for considerable reform in the youth justice space to guarantee the focus was on preventing crime before it happened rather than inflicting punishment and onerous rehabilitation requirements.

“QLS will continue to advocate for just and workable laws that both protect the community and allow for the rehabilitation of young offenders.”

ENDS

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