‘Hardcore’ primary school-aged offenders targeted in crime crackdown

Labor’s laws would allow GPS trackers to be fitted to recidivist high-risk offenders aged 16 and 17 as a condition of bail.

They would create a presumption against bail for those arrested for committing further serious offences, such as breaking and entering, serious sexual assault and armed robbery while on bail.

Police would also have the power to randomly scan people with metal detecting wands to target knife crime on the Gold Coast.

The Queensland Human Rights Commission argued electronic monitoring of children on bail was a serious incursion into the rights of children and families that could create more harm than good.

“The weight of evidence-informed expertise suggests that punitive ‘tough on crime’ programs and measures are not effective in rehabilitating offenders and reducing recidivism,” the commission wrote in its submission.

“Children in the youth justice system are some of the most vulnerable people in Queensland, many of whom are known to child safety and are disproportionately of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.”

The government has also pointed to its five-point action plan, including $550 million in youth justice reforms, which Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard said had led to a 23 per cent decrease in the number of young offenders.

“For example, our Transition 2 Success Program has a 67 per cent success rate,” she said.

“About 187 young people have attended and 67 per cent have not re-offended.”

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The LNP will not oppose the laws, which were expected to be debated and pass in the Queensland Parliament this week, but will ask for breach of bail to be made an offence.

“We believe bail is a privilege, not a right,” LNP police spokesman Dale Last said.

“Hardworking Queenslanders should not have to put up with juvenile offenders thumbing their nose at the law.”

Katter’s Australian Party MPs argued there was a lack of evidence any of Labor’s changes will address youth crime.

They will propose amendments, including mandatory sentencing for crimes such as break-and-enter, relocation sentencing, and omitting the clause of the Youth Justice Act that determines detention as a last resort.

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