JUVENILE CRIME: 460 kids arrested in CQ
STATISTICS recently released about juveniles facing court for crime has led to war of words and different interpretations by the state's two major political parties.
The Liberal National Party has claimed the figures in the Childrens Court of Queensland Annual Report 2015-2016 indicates Queensland's youth justice system has gone backwards in the past year.
"The total number of youth offenders increased last year by 1.5% - bucking the trend from the 2014/15 report which showed a decrease of 8.7% under the former LNP Government," Shadow Attorney-General Ian Walker said.
Mr Walker said 10% of juvenile offenders were responsible for 42% of all proven offences meaning that recidivism rates were still extremely high.
The report shows there were 460 juvenile defendants before magistrates courts in the Fitzroy region in 2015-16 facing an average of 4.16 charges, compared to 355 defendants in 2014-15 facing 3.36 charges.
"Our youth justice system has gone backwards and the proof is now in black and white that the Palaszczuk Labor Government is soft-on-crime," Mr Walker said.
"(It's) in a mess, youth crime is out of control, thugs are running the streets and our youth detention centres are in crisis."
However, a spokesperson for the Acting Attorney-General Dr Anthony Lynham said Mr Walker's claims that the ALP was soft on crime were "ludicrous".
"The Shadow Attorney-General can twist the figures in the Childrens Court of Queensland annual report anyway he likes, but he obviously failed to read the section of the report where President Michael Shanahan congratulates the Government for restoring the balance into the Youth Justice System, which included scrapping the LNP's failed boot camp program," the spokesperson said.
"President Shanahan also noted that there had been no dramatic increase in youth offending to warrant the approach the former LNP Government took."
"Youth justice is a sensitive and complex issue and requires a whole-of-government approach that holds young offenders accountable for their actions, while also addressing the issue at the root cause to prevent young people from turning to crime to start with, and stop them re-offending once in the youth justice system."
In 2015-16, the ALP State Government allocated $23.6 million over four years to deliver on the election commitment to reinstate youth justice conference, allowing courts to make young people more accountable for their behaviour, face up to their victims, take responsibility for their actions in a meaningful way and be supported to make long term, positive changes to their behaviour.
"In relation to statistics about Rockhampton juveniles, the LNP has failed to recognise their own hypocrisy in attacking the Palaszczuk Government for supposedly being "soft-on-crime" while at the same time quoting figures about an increase in young people facing court."