Generic Thinkstock image of youth crime - hand cuffs teenager under arrest.
Generic Thinkstock image of youth crime - hand cuffs teenager under arrest.

Youths, 17, out of adult courts

SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD criminals will no longer been treated as adults under the law in Queensland.

The state will deal with young offenders aged 17 under Youth Justice laws from February 12, falling in line with legislation in all other Australian jurisdictions.

The State Government's announcement was met with approval from youth advocacy groups including Debbie Kilroy from Sisters Inside.

"I'm relieved that 17-year-olds from now on will have the chance to pursue a future that is not defined by their childhood mistakes," she said.

Lindsay Wegener from PeakCare said it was "good news for everyone".

"The Queensland public has a right to feel protected from crime and there is no better long-term protection from crime than diverting children from becoming involved with the adult criminal justice system," he said. Child Safety, Youth and Women Minister Di Farmer said youths in the adult justice system would be transitioned to Youth Justice care.

"Naturally, decisions about the appropriateness of transitioning individual 17-year-olds to detention from adult prison will be made based on the safety and best interests of the child, staff and the wider community," she said.

Ms Farmer said the reforms fulfilled the State Government's "commitment to breaking the cycle of youth offending".

"We will do everything we can to turn (young people) away from a life of crime and the harms and costs to the community that results.

"By reforming the youth justice system we are improving results and providing more targeted support services to help these children turn their lives around and become valued members of our community," she said.



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