Queensland Law Society

Bail support for Qld youth a step forward: QLS

Queensland Law Society has embraced the Palaszczuk Government’s announcement of $17 million across Queensland for young people on remand as a step towards a broader solution.

President Ken Taylor said that although comprehensive detail had not been released yet, any steps to reduce the number of children and young people on remand, or address reoffending was to be applauded.

“Recent reports of overcrowding in watchhouses and remand centres is concerning, but sadly, not unexpected,” he said.

“We are aware that this has been a systemic problem for many years, with many underlying reasons and no magic or simple solutions.”

Mr Taylor said that the dilemma was deciding between leaving young children in adult facilities for extended periods of time to their detriment, or endangering the community by releasing dangerous offenders out on bail too early.

“Leaving a child in an unacceptable situation is not the solution, and neither is releasing an offender before they are ready,” he said.

“So, what is the solution? We know that often juvenile offending is a part of much deeper and more complex problems in a young person’s life.

“We know that petty crime and factors such as broken homes, abuse, social exclusion or disadvantage, mental health problems, disability, drug abuse, truancy and a lack of opportunities or hope are strongly connected.

“In many ways rates of juvenile offending tell us that parts of our community are broken and need to be fixed.

“The solution is not then simply a justice solution, a child safety solution, a community programs solution, a policing solution, a corrective services solution or an education solution. It is in fact all of these arms of Government working together in a coordinated and sustained way to address the underlying problem.”

Mr Taylor said the announcement of more legal practitioners to assist with bail applications and representation of young people was a positive step for offenders.

“Solicitors play a key role in our justice system, and it is pleasing to see funding for more advisors to assist children and young people navigate the court system.

“I look forward to hearing more about this initiative, and the Law Society stands ready to engage with the Government to offer assistance where possible.

“We all want juvenile offenders to gain the skills and desire to be positive, contributing members of the community rather than falling between the cracks to become another member of the revolving door community of life-long criminals.

“We must tackle this now, and I thank the Government for taking another step forward in this societal scourge.”