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Public Committee briefing on Qld Bill to raise the age of criminal responsibility today

Greens MP Michael Berkman will today face Parliament’s Community Support and Services Committee for a public briefing on his Bill to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years old and transition 10-13 year olds out of prisons and watch-houses in Queensland.

The briefing will be held from 12-1pm in Committee Room 2 of the Queensland Parliamentary Annexe and will include an opening statement from Mr Berkman, followed by questions from the Committee. Members of the public may attend, subject to COVID-19 restrictions on the number of persons in the gallery. The hearing will also be broadcast on Parliament TV. 

Michael Berkman:

“Allowing kids as young as 10 to be incarcerated flies in the face of our Human Rights obligations and increases the likelihood of more serious reoffending, ultimately leaving our communities less safe.

“This Bill isn’t about ignoring problematic behaviour by children under 14; it’s acknowledging that the current system isn’t working, and calling for a new approach. 

“The Government should reinvest funds away from youth prisons into community programs and therapeutic services that address the underlying needs of a child and their family. Not only is rehabilitation proven to be more effective than criminalisation, but it’s also cheaper.

“This Bill is also a crucial step towards reducing the over-incarceration of First Nations people, given Queensland currently has the greatest proportion of First Nations children under 14 held in detention of any Australian state.”

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