Friday, June 21, 2024

New laws to track young offenders on bail

Queensland courts will be able to order that hardcore youth offenders be fitted with GPS devices as a condition of bail from Monday.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said the government’s suite of new Youth Justice reforms were specifically designed to target hardcore recidivist offenders.

“This trial of GPS monitoring devices gives police and the courts another tool to target the small minority that commit the majority of offences,” the Minister said.

“Courts will be able to order 16 to17-year-olds to wear GPS devices if they are given bail, providing an extra layer of security and increased safety for the community.

“The devices will be monitored around the clock by Queensland Corrective Services who have extensive experience with this technology.” 

The introduction of GPS monitoring devices from May 17 is part of a $98.4 million funding package to support the crackdown on youth crime.

The package includes:

  • a trial of GPS monitoring in Townsville, North Brisbane, Moreton, Logan and the Gold Coast.
  • expansion of the joint Police and Youth Justice Co-responder strike teams to North Brisbane and the Gold Coast (in addition to existing Co-Responder teams based in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Moreton and Logan).
  • enhanced intensive supervision of young people on bail through the Conditional Bail Program, including weekend and after-hours supervision.
  • intensive support for families of children on bail provided by NGOs in communities.
  • additional court and legal advocacy services.

These changes are supported by a presumption against bail for certain serious repeat offenders who commit a crime while on bail; and the ability for a court to seek assurances from parents or guardians before an offender is released.

Minister Ryan said data showed that 10% of all youth offenders account for 48% of all youth crime.

“It is this group we are targeting with all the legislative and front-line strategies at our disposal,” the Minister said.

“The Palaszczuk Government is investing in strategies to divert young people away from crime in the first place but there are consequences for those who continue to break the law so they are held to account.”

Former Police Commissioner, Bob Atkinson, will report on the efficacy of the measures in six months and Assistant Police Commissioner, Cheryl Scanlon, is leading a Youth Crime Taskforce to implement the new measures.

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