Youth Justice - Take Action

ACTION IN APRIL

Dear ANTaR Qld members,

Please take action and send a letter on Indigenous Youth Justice today! (Proforma letter attached)

BACKGROUND

In response to our submission in February, relating to the amendments to the Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, we received this correspondence last month.

“I have been advised this afternoon that the Governor has provided assent to the Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014. The new laws are effective immediately.

These amendments result in:

·         Childrens Court is now open for repeat offenders and they will be subject to being named publicly   

·         Judges and Magistrates have the discretion to close the court and/or prohibit publication where they consider it is in the interests of justice to do so

·         Judges and Magistrates are no longer bound by the sentencing principle that detention and imprisonment can only be considered as a last resort.  The principle has also been expressly ousted from Common Law

·         Seventeen year olds who have six or more months remaining in detention will be transferred to an adult correctional facility

·         Sentence reviews are no longer available

·         Juvenile findings of guilt are now admissible when sentencing as an adult

·         A new offence has been created for young offenders who are found guilty of committing an offence while on bail

·         Recidivist motor vehicle offenders in Townsville are subjected to a mandatory boot camp order.

Youth Justice is committed to reforming the youth justice sector and plan, through the Blueprint for the Future of Youth Justice in Queensland, to implement further strategies designed to impact in real ways the cycle of offending for young people in Queensland. Further consultation will be undertaken with your organisation in terms of the reforms detailed in the Blueprint in the near future.

 

Should you have any questions related to the Youth Justice Act amendments, or their implementation, in the first instance please contact Mr Damian Azzopardi, Project Manager, Youth Justice on (07) 3006 8127.

Sean Harvey | Assistant Director-General

Office of the Assistant Director-General | Youth Justice | Department of Justice and Attorney-General

ANTaR Qld  is against these amendments for many reasons listed below:

Supervised Youth Justice Orders – why change what has been working?

 2,507 young offenders were subject to supervised youth justice orders. This represents a decrease of 2% over the past 3 years.

* 3 young offenders were placed on Sentenced Bootcamp Orders.

* 642 community service orders were successfully completed by young offenders, which provided 32,130 hours back into the community.

* 2,093 supervised community based orders were successfully completed, 77% of all community based orders.

 

Around 70% of young people in the youth justice system are known to the child protection system.[1] [Safer Streets, 2013]

 

·         Over the past 3 years, the number of proven offences increased by 16% to 25,897 but the number of distinct young offenders decreased by 9% over the same period.

·         10% of young offenders are responsible for almost half of all proven offences committed by 10-16 year olds.

·         161 young offenders are in detention on an average day (0.04% of 10-16 yr old population) - Indigenous offenders accounted for 66% of these young people.

Research has identified:

·         17% of young people in detention in Australia had an IQ of less than 70 - particularly an issue for Indigenous young people

·         Young people with intellectual disability are at a significantly higher risk of re-offending

·          

·         88% of young people in custody reported symptoms consistent with mild, moderate or severe psychiatric disorder.  [QAILS, 2014]

 

The new amendments will impact young Indigenous people, as you can see from the statistics above. We urge you to write a letter of your own based upon the facts below and send it to the addresses listed at the bottom of this e-mail. If you write to Members of Parliament they WILL write back to you.

We also understand that time is not in abundance in many people’s lifestyles so we attach a pro forma letter for you to print out and sign if that is easier. (Of course writing your own letter will have even more impact – please take the time to let the Qld Government know what you think about these laws).

Addresses:

1.    Sean Harvey, Assistant Director-General, Level 25, State Law Building, 50 Ann Street, Brisbane  QLD  4000

2.    The Secretariat,
National Council of Churches in Australia,
Locked Bag 199,
QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING NSW 1230

3.    Hon Glen Elmes MP, Suite CB05, Noosa Civic, 28 Eenie Creek Road, Noosaville QLD 4566

4.    Premier Campbell Newman MP, PO Box 15185
City East
Queensland 4002

5.    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, the Hon Jarrod Bleijie MP, GPO Box 149, Brisbane QLD 4001

6.      Find your local MP:  https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/members/current/list