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No more silver bullets: Why Qld remains vulnerable to getting youth crime wrong

Brad Cooper reports for InQld (11.1.23) on the issue of juvenile justice in Queensland, highlighting how ‘credible research continues to show that the ‘tougher’ authorities go on youth crime the worse the problem gets’.

‘Youth offenders waiting for their day in court on remand are often there because they have nowhere else to go, not because they necessarily pose a risk to public safety.

‘On recent trends Queensland’s rates of remand for young people are among the highest in the OECD (although NSW is also historically high).

‘Globally it is difficult to draw direct comparisons because youth justice systems in different jurisdictions are used in different ways to achieve different outcomes.

‘Griffith University Professor William Wood says Queensland’s numbers are possibly inflated by young people who have little means of security, support and responsible supervision outside state care, not because they are dangerous.’

Queensland’s draconian approach to youth justice sets kids up to fail

Ben Smee reports in The Guardian (4.2.23) on the state government’s ‘tough’ approach to youth justice, highlighting the long-term damage done to imprisoned children by ‘short-term, vote-chasing politics’.

‘In 2018, following revelations about children being held in police watch houses, the Queensland government announced a new youth justice strategy designed to keep kids out of detention.

‘“Evidence shows that by placing young offenders in detention, they are more likely to reoffend,” the government’s statement said. “We can’t continue to keep doing the same things over and over and expect a different result.”

‘Compare that statement with that of the police minister, Mark Ryan, in November last year, saying Queensland had changed course so dramatically on youth crime, that more children than ever were being held in state prisons and police cells.

‘… In its eagerness to meet “community expectations”, Labor has ceded control of the public debate on youth justice to the loudest, most extreme voices, who at the same time have further amplified the perception of a “crisis”.’

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