The Queensland Council of Civil Liberties has delivered a scathing assessment of changes to the state’s youth crime laws, including naming young offenders.
Moves to name and and shame juvenile criminals in Queensland would destroy their prospects of rehabilitation and fail to deter repeat offenders, civil libertarians say.
They also say removing detention as a last resort for young offenders would be a complete failure.
In a submission to the state’s parliamentary Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee, the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties (QCCL) delivers a scathing assessment of proposed changes to the state’s youth justice laws.
Penned by president Michael Cope, it also opposes allowing childhood criminal histories to follow people into adulthood.
The submission argues that naming and shaming young offenders wouldn’t be effective as most juveniles only appear in court once, and it would also destroy their prospects of rehabilitation.
“That small group of repeat offenders who appear to be the focus of the government’s concern are not going to be deterred by the prospect of being named,” the submission said.
Such a policy had already been attempted in the Northern Territory where research indicated the naming of children resulted in harassment, and disrupted their educational and other prospects, it added.
The QCCL says current laws regarding the admissibility of childhood criminal histories are appropriate.
It also urges the government to focus on reducing the number of people on remand in detention instead of transferring children into adult prisons.
Amendments to the youth justice act were introduced in Queensland parliament earlier this month by Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie in a bid to crackdown on repeat offenders.
Mr Bleijie says the laws will make juvenile criminals take responsibility for their actions.
The tough measures have been slammed by Amnesty International, saying they do nothing to rehabilitate offenders and will fast-track them into prison cells.
But Mr Bleijie said the government’s approach incorporates rehabilitation through its bootcamp program.