SEEKING to establish itself as the political party with the best plan to crack down on CQ’s growing youth crime problem, One Nation has revealed an ambitious 10-point plan to stop juvenile offenders in their tracks.
As someone who has personally worked to rehabilitate young law-breakers in his Muay Thai gym, One Nation’s candidate for Rockhampton Torin O’Brien is particularly invested in finding lasting solutions.
On Friday he proudly unveiled his party’s new youth justice policy, labelling it the most comprehensive law and order plan for Queensland ahead of the October election.
The 10-point policy received input from serving and former police officers, aboriginal elders, correctional staff and a deliberate night’s stay in a Townsville bail house.
Mr O’Brien accused the incumbent Labor Government of becoming “the kings of crime” that “should be ashamed of their skyrocketing crime statistics across Queensland”.
Australian Bureau of Statistics crime data released this month reveals Queensland now leads the nation in car theft, homicide, and victims of unlawful entry while recording the largest increase in robberies in a decade.
On Tuesday, theMorning Bulletin exclusively revealed Capricornia’s youth crime statistics which were collected by Queensland Police over the past decade.
The statistics showed a 2000 per cent increase in robbery offences carried out by juveniles over the past decade.
Over the past five years, young offenders have been responsible for a 360 per cent increase in Unlawful Use of Motor Vehicles, a 157 per cent rise in Unlawful Entries and 64 per cent increase in assaults.
Mr O’Brien said police were at their wit’s end because the resources and dedication were there to catch the criminals, but the courts were failing in their efforts to deal with these kids, often releasing them back into the community and allowing them to go on and reoffend time and time again.
“The soft approach this government has taken is failing the victims and the public’s expectation that criminals will be dealt with appropriately,” Mr. O’Brien said.
Queensland’s Youth Justice Department reveals 1526 detention centre admissions were made during 2018-19 and of these 37 per cent represent first-ever admissions to detention, while 63 per cent had served prior time.
“The deterrent in our justice system just isn’t there,” he said.
“These kids know that it’s highly unlikely they’ll serve any time in detention, with 99 per cent of young criminals spending less than 12 weeks in lockup when they are convicted.”
Mr O’Brien highlighted that One Nation’s youth justice policy also included assistance to victims of crime.
“I know what victims of crime go through, and this is the only policy that takes into account the sufferer and offers them the assistance they need to deal with the trauma,” he said.
“We know that most kids and young adults go through life without involving themselves in crime, but sadly there’s always a percentage that needs the full force of the law to come down hard on them. We’re failing them if we don’t.”
Already holding the balance of power in New South Wales, Western Australia and in the federal parliament, One Nation is aiming to replicate this position following Queensland’s election.
“For an effective Queensland parliament, Labor and the LNP need proper oversight which One Nation has demonstrated in other states across the country,” he said.
One Nation’s 10 Point Plan to address Youth Crime throughout Queensland
1. Alternative Sentencing Options – Implement juvenile diversion programs that include Remote Work Stations, Youth Camps, Cadetships, and Local Support Hubs for alternative sentencing options.
2. Abolish the Supervised Community Accommodation Program – Queensland’s Bail House program has failed to meet the safety needs of the community, our courts, and victims.
3. Greater Collaboration between Departments & Programs – The Department of Communities must support the work of the Queensland Police Force and the Department of Attorney-General. Greater encouragement must be shown for mentoring and Indigenous Elder programs.
4. Ankle Monitoring – Young offenders across key crime hot spots will be monitored through the use of ankle bracelets if released on bail.
5. Child and Youth Court Liaison Services – Increase youth liaison officers in crucial crime regions to provide greater contact between support and counselling services.
6. Support for Victims of Crime – An increasing number of victims are left fearful following an offence. No victim should be left without the support of 24-hour counselling.
7. Remove Distractions – Remove unnecessary distractions from detainees, including mobile phones, gaming consoles, and television. Instead offer communal workspaces with desktop computers for educational purposes only.
8. Partner Programs – Encourage at-risk youth to attend partner programs including the PCYC and Youth Hub Centres and the creation of a Youth Risk Register.
9. Accountability – Parents must be held responsible for the crimes of their children. The Department of Child Safety must conduct a home assessment before a youth offender can return home following the completion of their sentence.
10. Change the Bail Act – Stop the ‘Catch and Release’ process by changing the Bail Act. Refuse bail to youth facing a sentence of 2 years or more. Reoffending youth will face a mandatory minimum six-month diversion program.
One Nation’s analysis of Youth Justice statisti cs
• Annual summary statistics released by Queensland Youth Justice reveal a 25 per cent increase in the average daily detention of young people.
• Public records reveal 1526 detention centre admissions were made during 2018-2019.
37 per cent represent first-ever admissions to detention, while 63 per cent had served prior time.
• The proportion of young criminals who spent more than 12 weeks in detention is just 1 per cent.
• Around 99 per cent of young offenders are simply caught and quickly released, even though 52 per cent of crimes represent violent behaviour and a further 31 per cent involve property crime, including the illegal use of motor vehicles.
To read the Youth Justice annual summary statistics between 2014 and 2019, visit here.