Minister for Community Services and Housing and Minister for Women
The Honourable Karen Struthers
Queensland Youth Justice Laws overhauled
Community Services Minister Karen Struthers has reminded Queenslanders that sweeping reforms to address youth crime come in to effect on Monday, March 29.
Ms Struthers said the new laws balanced the need for jail time for serious offenders with the need for programs to help young offenders break the cycle of crime.
"We have some the toughest youth justice laws Queenslanders have ever seen," Ms Struthers said.
"The Bligh Government is tough on youth crime and tough on its causes.
"The changes we have made are based on evidence and community feedback.
"Amendments support victims of crime as well as meet community expectations that offenders will be held responsible for their actions as well as being given a chance to rehabilitate where appropriate."
Changes to be introduced as part of the Youth Justice Act 1992 include:
*giving courts the powers to impose curfews on young offenders to ensure they are properly supervised and are not given opportunities to reoffend;
*widening court powers to name dangerous young offenders convicted of serious offences;
*giving police stronger powers to arrest young offenders who do not comply with conferencing requirements.
"Young people convicted of multiple murders will now be detained for a minimum of 20 years, up from 15 years," Ms Struthers said.
Ms Struthers said the vast majority of young people did the right thing and abided by the law and community expectations.
"Only about 7% of young people have contact with the youth justice system in Queensland," Ms Struthers said.
"According to police data, the number of police contacts with young people dropped by more than 10% between the 2006-2007 and 2008-2009 financial years."
Ms Struthers supported jail time when it was appropriate but said alternatives also needed to be offered.
"Youth Justice Conferences have been particularly successful," she said.
"Around 98% of victims are satisfied justice is being served and police tell me young people are shaking in their boots as they look their victims in the eye and face the consequences of their actions."
Ms Struthers acknowledged Doug Nothdurft and Margaret Wilson and Ross and Margaret Thompson for their contributions in shaping the new legislation.
"The Bligh Government is determined to tackle problems with youth crime head-on and these new laws do just that," she said.