The Queensland Greens have responded to the publication today of a Parliamentary Committee report which opposed Michael Berkman’s Bill to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years old and remove 10-13 year olds from youth prisons.
“Labor and LNP MPs on the Committee, in recommending against raising the age of criminal responsibility, have ignored the medical and criminological evidence and our international human rights obligations.
“Locking up children doesn’t stop offending behavior. It damages young people and makes everyone less safe.
“The Committee didn’t even recommend that the Government adequately fund the supports and services necessary to help the vulnerable and traumatised kids caught up in the criminal legal system.
“Instead, the Committee seems to have bought into the Government’s ineffective, politicised, and harmful ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric that’s stalled this necessary reform for years now.
“The Committee has cherry-picked and misrepresented evidence to suggest that this reform threatens community safety, when the evidence clearly suggests otherwise.
“Ultimately, the clearest pathway to improving community safety is keeping children away from the criminal legal system, creating alternatives to criminal justice responses and addressing the disadvantage these children face.
“The Committee has made a heavily qualified recommendation that Queensland consider raising the age from 10 to 12, but I agree with the views of experts that such a compromise would help less than 10% of 10-13 year olds currently in the system and could stymie proper reform.
- The Community Services and Support Committee’s report on the Queensland Greens’ Raise the Age Bill is here.
- Michael Berkman’s Dissenting Report is available at the link above, on PDF page 74
- The Bill will be debated in the coming months depending on the Parliamentary schedule.