Making the Fun Stop: Youth Justice Reform in Queensland

Terry Hutchinson


In 2013 the newly elected conservative Liberal National Party government instigated amendments to the Youth Justice Act 1992 (Qld). Boot camps replaced court ordered youth justice conferencing. In 2014 there were more drastic changes, including opening the Children’s Court proceedings to the public, permitting publication of identifying information of repeat offenders, removing the principle of ‘detention as a last resort’, facilitating prompt transferral of 17 year olds to adult prisons and instigating new bail offences and mandatory boot camp orders for recidivist motor vehicle offenders in Townsville. This article compares these amendments to the legislative frameworks in other jurisdictions and current social research. It argues that these amendments are out of step with national and international best practice benchmarks for youth justice. Early indications are that Indigenous children are now experiencing increased rates of unsentenced remand. The article argues that the government’s policy initiatives are resulting in negative outcomes and that early and extensive evaluations of these changes are essential.


Youth Justice Reform, Law Reform, Youth Justice Act 1992 (Qld), indigenous remand

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