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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

    17 year olds to be moved to youth justice system

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

    Friday, November 04, 2016

    17 year olds to be moved to youth justice system

    The practice of treating 17 year old offenders as adults in Queensland’s justice system will cease by the end of next year, after the Palaszczuk Government’s historic legislation was passed by parliament last night.

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the legislation ended decades where Queensland was out of step with the rest of the nation, as a result of inaction from both sides of politics.

    “For more than 20 years, there’s has been a lack of resolve in Queensland to take the critical first step in addressing this problem,” said Mrs D’Ath.

    “The Palaszczuk Government refused to join that queue of inaction, and now we have a 12 month timetable to ensure 17 year olds are dealt with by the youth justice system, as they should be.”

    “There are many complex and sensitive issues to be addressed to make this change happen.

    “That is why this Bill will commence on proclamation 12 months after its passing - to ensure a measured approach to the transition of 17 years into the Youth Justice system

    The legislation passed last night provides for the development of a transitional regulation to allow for the safe and orderly transfer of 17-year-olds who are in the adult criminal justice system, into the youth justice system.

    The transitional regulation will contain technical and operational detail, such as how a 17-year-old is to be relocated, when, and under what circumstances that individual’s planned transfer might be delayed.

    “This government is acutely aware of the complexity of young people’s needs in the youth justice system,” said Mrs D’Ath.

    “That is why we will ensure a multi-agency response that empowers other government departments to prioritise the needs of this small but very complex cohort.

    “Over the next 12 months, we will implement a plan that builds an evidence-based, developmentally appropriate system which acknowledges the risks and needs of the different age cohorts within Youth Justice.

    “This plan is premised on careful assessment of each young person’s development, cognitive ability, health, welfare, and education needs.

    “Our plan stands in stark contrast to the LNP.

    “The Opposition fails to acknowledge the overwhelming support, in Queensland and around the world, to transition 17 years olds to the Youth Justice system, and finds itself isolated in its disgraceful stance against this important change.

    ‘They have learnt nothing from the arrogance of their three years in government, and are still unable to listen to what the people of Queenslanders want.

    “Tim Nicholls’ lack of conviction to simply do the right thing has once again left him on the wrong side of history.”

    Youth Justice Queensland is already implementing a range of multi-agency interventions that will be expanded and enhanced as part of the integration of 17 year olds into the youth justice system.

    Early results from these initiatives point to less offending by these particular young people and re-engagement with education and training. 

    Each of these initiatives has the potential to reduce both the number of young people held in remand and the number of those returning to the detention population.

    These initiatives include:

    • Transition to Success;
    • trauma informed practice which is a strengths based framework that recognises the impact trauma can have on the developing brain;
    • the reinstatement of Court-ordered Youth justice conferencing which is a restorative justice response to youth offending;
    • conditional bail programs that are delivered to young people at high risk of being remanded in custody;
    • intensive case management with chronic violent offenders and their families in a program that assists young people and their families with multiple and complex need by providing individualised intensive support and rehabilitation programs; and
    • various initiatives under the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program.

    “We look forward to working constructively with stakeholders to ensure the transition of 17 year olds into the youth justice system,” said Mrs D’Ath.

    As has been the case through the development of this legislation, this journey will be open and transparent, and the transitional regulation will be developed in consultation with stakeholders.”

    Media Contact: 0417 272 875