Queensland's new Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie wants to get Qld's juvenile justice under control.
Queensland's new Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie wants to get Qld's juvenile justice under control. Cade Mooney

Reducing Qld's juvenile crime

REDUCING juvenile crime is top on the list for Queensland's new Attorney-General who says 32 per cent of young people in the state's detention centres have been inside five times or more.

Jarrod Bleijie said he was also looking into making children's courts more transparent and making young people more accountable for their actions.

"I want to get juvenile justice under control in Queensland," he said.

"One of the first things we (the LNP) did was to change Youth Justice services from the Department of Communities and put it under the Department of Justice.

"That way we've got all the lawyers and the experts under the same roof able to look at these laws in terms of offending patterns of young people, which will be great.

"I understand if we don't help these kids and they continue on the same path it will cost taxpayers $100,000 every year to lock them up once they turn 17."

Mr Bleijie said his staff was already investigating "boot camp" options to target repeat juvenile offenders at risk of falling into more serious crime.

He said the $2 million trial would involve juveniles being sentenced to a 12-week intensive boot camp instead of detention to stop the revolving door.

Mr Bleijie said the program would strike a balance between a high-end military camp and existing community programs.
He said the program's success would be measured on re-offending rates.

"I've already got the department working on the background briefings for this and we will soon put out for tenders to run these programs," he said.

"While we will be tough on the worst of our young criminals ... we should try to intercept and intervene before crime becomes a problem at the community level by working with our youth to stop them falling off the tracks.

"Kids have to take responsibly for their actions but a lot of young kids don't have the opportunity.

"Through the boot camp project they can learn how to get a job, make money, live independently and contribute positively to society.

"We're going to make it a sentencing option for judges. It won't be mandatory and if the young person does not want to participate then they will be sentenced under Youth Justice provisions."

In Queensland, children's courts at district and supreme level are open to the public, but are closed in the magistrates jurisdiction except rare exceptions for media at the magistrate's discretion.

Mr Bleijie said he would investigate more transparency in the lower courts.

Repeating an election campaign pledge, Mr Bleijie said he believed juveniles should be named and shamed - noting 382 sexual assaults, 484 robberies and extortions, and 418 violent assaults went through the Queensland Children's Court between 2009 and 2011.

"Unless it can be shown it's not in the public interest then our courts should be operating in a totally transparent manner," he said.

"If something is hindering that openness in our courts then I'm happy to take that on board and be guided by advice of people in the system."



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