Palaszczuk Government writes another YJ hall pass

May 24, 2023

Legislation was passed in the Queensland Parliament this week making various changes to corrective services legislation within Queensland. One such change was to criminalise the act of adult prisoners gaining access to restricted areas of correctional centres, namely rooftops.

The Corrective Services (Emerging Technologies and Security) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 was a Government bill introduced by Police Minister Mark Ryan in late November 2022. During his explanatory speech, the Police Minister highlighted that prisoner access to restricted areas was a consistent and disruptive safety issue across corrective services facilities.

Although the bill made amendments to both the Corrective Services Act 2006 and the Youth Justice Act 1992, it did not go so far as to also make it a criminal offence for youth in detention centres to access rooftops despite doing so for adult prisoners.

Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP, Nick Dametto said that this legislation was yet another example of the State Government excusing child criminals for their criminal conduct and failing to hold them to the same standard expected of the rest of the population.

“I believe that children in this state should not be getting away with things that they would be criminally charged with in the adult prison system,” Mr Dametto said.

“Children who make their way up to the roof to cause a scene or a riot should also be dealt with by the law.

“We often see in the media the chaos, disruption and destruction that is caused by youths who riot on rooftops. We have seen it various times at Cleveland Youth Detention Centre where the damage bill was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“We are doing a great disservice to children in this state by not teaching them that if you commit a crime, there is a consequence and a punishment.”

The Hinchinbrook MP introduced an amendment to the bill during Consideration in Detail that would see the same offence created under the Youth Justice Act and not only the Corrective Services Act.

Labor voted against the introduction of the amendment therefore denying the Parliament the opportunity to properly consider and debate the amendment.

“This is yet another example of the Palaszczuk Government’s willingness to let juvenile offenders go unpunished for their criminal behaviour and denying the people of Queensland the true democratic process.”