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Juvenile offenders given one chance before being named

JUVENILE offenders in regional areas will be given one chance before they are named and shamed under tough new legislation.

Under the proposed tough new laws all juvenile criminal histories will be made available to magistrates and judges to give them a complete understanding of a defendant's history, removing the provision that jail time is a last resort and transferring juvenile offenders to adult prison when they reach 17 years of age if they have six months or more remaining on their sentence.

Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said on Tuesday he made no apologies for the tough new reforms outlined in the Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill.

"These are fair, but tough laws," he said.

"They are made to ensure people take responsibility, and are held responsible, for their actions.

"We are cracking down on dangerous, repeat young offenders but also helping at-risk young people find a better path in life."

Mr Bleijie said the new legislation would also include naming and shaming juvenile offenders if they face court for a second time charged with the same offence in less than a year.

"Under these reforms, the identities of repeat offenders will be allowed to be published by the media, making them more accountable for their actions and setting a strong deterrent for further offending," he said.

"Publishing the identities of first time offenders will continue to be prohibited and the court will have the discretion to close certain proceedings.

"This will send a strong message to repeat offenders and provide the public with a better understanding of the Children's Court process."

Mr Bleijie said what governments had been doing for the past 25 years in relation to juvenile crime had clearly not worked.

"The number and seriousness of offences committed by young people have been growing at an alarming rate for years," he said.

"The number of cases dealt with in the Children's Court rose by more than 10% and the number of offences increased by more than 20% over the past financial year.

"We now worryingly have a cohort of young offenders who have become hardened criminals before they are even old enough to get their L plates and that is why we have had to act."

The bill has been referred to the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee for consideration.

Topics:  crime juvenile justice law


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