Authorities hope holistic approach to repeat youth offending will create long-term change

REPEAT youth offenders must be held accountable for their crimes but they must also be given the opportunity to turn their lives around.

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That is the view of Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs’ senior executive director of Youth Detention and Reform Michael Drane.

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Mr Drane made the comment after the announcement of the next phase of the Youth Justice Taskforce reform agenda was made.

The Youth Justice Taskforce is focused on building intensive multi-agency case management of high-risk repeat youth offenders in the top 10 per cent cohort across the state.

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Mr Drane said the next phase was focused on long-term, meaningful change.

“We know this is a difficult task which requires extensive intervention and is only effective after the very basic underlying causes of offending are addressed.

“Our cross-agency taskforce will focus on coordinating strategies to address these issues, including education, employment, health, accommodation and family supervision.

“Each agency involved will work practically to case manage the small cohort of repeat young offenders and deliver interventions in every aspect of their life where needed.”

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Meanwhile Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon said intervening and rehabilitating young offenders was crucial in breaking the cycle of crime and delivering long-term change.

“The task force is now six months on from operationalising the legislative reforms to tackle youth crime and while the preliminary indications are delivering the much-needed response to protect the community, there is a lot more work to be done,” Assistant Commissioner Scanlon said.

“We need to do everything we can to reduce re-offending by ramping up interventions and support beyond detention.  

“The next phase of the task force involves rigorous intensive multi-agency case management of each of the children in the serious repeat offender cohort.

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“We know this group of young people have very complex social and family dysfunction which will require a more tailored approach to ensure the intervention is effective.

“Our holistic approach is to have all relevant government and non-government agencies involved in a timely and coordinated intervention strategy which can be sustained long term.”

The Youth Justice Taskforce began operations on February 15, 2021, while reforms targeting serious repeat offenders commenced on April 30 through changes to the Youth Justice and Other Legislation Act.

The reforms included new laws enabling a presumption against bail for serious repeat offenders and the ability for a court to seek assurances from parents or guardians before an offender is released.

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