Changes to Queensland's youth justice laws welcome but token, advocacy group says

Changes to Queensland's youth justice laws barely scratch the surface of a major problem in the state, a leading advocacy group says.

Parliament scrapped laws by the former Newman LNP government, including boot camps as a sentencing option.

In addition, young offenders would no longer be named and shamed by the courts, prison would be made a last resort in sentencing, and 17-year-olds would be kept out of adult prisons until they turn 18.

The Youth Affairs Network said the changes to Queensland's youth laws in Parliament on Friday were welcome but token.

Youth Affairs Network director Siyavash Doostkhah said although the changes were welcome, but the Government was not attacking the root of the problem.

"Research has clearly stated we are better off putting money and resources into the prevention area," he said.

"We just had a budget and we see again hundreds of millions of dollars spent on jails and prisons and youth detention and hardly anything on youth services to prevent this happening to start with."

Mr Doostkhah said the State Government had to reassess its approach to the issue.

"For each one young person that we put in youth detention centre, we can run an entire youth service [for 12 months] that could work with 5,200 marginalised young people, keeping them out of the youth detention centre — the ratio is phenomenal," he said.

On Friday, Attorney-General Yvette D'ath said in Parliament the laws restored balance and an evidence-based approach and also allowed "for the necessary rehabilitation and diversion of children from further involvement in the justice system".

However, the Opposition said the LNP's laws were not given enough time to see if they worked and Labor's weak approach would lead to more crime.

The Opposition also said it was also concerned the Government did not have a viable alternative.

The changes take effect from July 1.

Source: ABC News

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