Media release - 30 April 2019
Queensland's peak legal body has praised the state government's proposed $320 million investment in a raft of much needed juvenile justice reform measures – in particular the funding of a new Specialist Children's Court magistrate.
Queensland Law Society President Bill Potts on Tuesday (April 30) welcomed the announcement for an additional magistrate, building and staffing of a new and up-graded existing detention centre and a range of community initiatives to prevent children from ever seeing the inside of a detention centre.
"QLS has been a very vocal and strong advocate for reforms in the juvenile justice system and the funding announcement is certainly a good start to protecting vulnerable and troubled children who may fall foul of the law," Mr Potts said.
"The Society particularly supports the move to provide an additional specialist magistrate and funding for various early intervention initiatives to prevent youth offending, keeping minor offenders out of court, reducing the number of youths in detention and options that divert juveniles away from the Youth Justice system."
The announcement comes nine months after former Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson released his report and recommendations for a wide-ranging overhaul in the way the state dealt with young offenders.
The package announced by Queensland's Youth Minister Di Farmer include:
- An additional Specialist Children's Court Magistrate;
- Community-based Queensland Police supervision for high risk youths on bail across the state's south-east;
- Community youth responses to crime hotspots in three locations – Brisbane, Ipswich and Cairns;
- Enhanced youth and family wellbeing measures for Indigenous Family Wellbeing Services;
- A transitional hub to divert young people from police custody in Mount Isa; and
- Construction to build 48 new beds and to boost staff numbers to alleviate the serious over-crowding in existing youth detention centres.
"The Society will continue to advocate long and hard in the youth justice space to ensure focus is placed on preventing crime before it happens rather than inflicting punishment and onerous rehabilitation on children," Mr Potts said.