QLS applauds government funding to implement youth detention recommendations
27 April 2017
Queensland’s peak solicitor group has welcomed the state government’s $6.2 million commitment to improve services and care for juveniles held in corrective detention centres.
Queensland Law Society President Christine Smyth on Thursday (April 27) said it was a refreshingly positive move by the Queensland Government to abandon the “lock ‘em up and throw away the key" mentality toward juvenile offenders adopted by previous governments in favour of real reform.
“No-one is saying that young people should not be held responsible and accountable for their wrongdoing, but it is important they are given the chance to atone for their crimes and be properly rehabilitated," Ms Smyth said.
“However, I think most fair-minded Queenslanders would agree we need to invest in the future of juvenile offenders and afford them every opportunity to be rehabilitated, provided with options upon release and ensure they are housed safely while in detention.
“QLS has worked tirelessly on the issue of juvenile justice reforms via submissions to government and by campaigning on reform such as the abolition of laws committing 17-year-olds to serve sentences in adult prisons; and we will continue to do so."
Ms Smyth’s comments follow Queensland Attorney-General and Justice Minister Yvette D’Ath’s announcement of the government’s intention to implement recommendations made in the Independent Review of Youth Detention.
Ms D’Ath said the government had also accepted the findings from the investigation into the November 2016 riot at Cleveland Youth Detention Centre.
Ms Smyth said QLS agreed with the government’s view that youth detention centres were “highly complex" and “sometimes volatile environments" where balancing justice, security and welfare of detainees was a daily challenge.
However, Ms Smyth said a “whole-of-community" approach was required to help solve juvenile justice issues.
“It takes a village to raise a child and a whole village to solve a problem like this,” Ms Smyth said.
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