Proposed changes to Queensland’s youth justice laws will see the number of children being held in watch houses ‘explode, an advocate has warned.
It comes as state parliament prepares to debate the legislation this week as part of a crack down on serious repeat young offenders following a series of high-profile crimes involving young people.
The changes include making breach of bail an offence for children, expanding a trial of GPS ankle monitors and increasing the maximum penalty for unlawful use of a motor vehicle from seven to ten years imprisonment.
Debbie Kilroy from female prisoner advocacy group Sisters Inside told the ABC the changes will adversely affect Aboriginal women and girls and described the legislation as ‘smoke and mirrors.’
“The real issues are this government fails to address and fund the social issues in our communities.
We need housing. We need poverty addressed. These children need education and training, they don’t need cages and that’s what this government is relying on.
It’s using prison as a default response for social issues in our community and they must turn this around and end this ridiculousness.
Harm is going to be inflicted for generations to come.”