By Claire Matthews
From today, courts will be able to order that youth offenders are fitted with GPS devices as a bail condition as part of the state’s initiative to reduce youth crime.
The new Youth Justice reforms are designed to target reoffenders, said Police Minister Mark Ryan.
“This trial of GPS monitoring devices gives police and the courts another tool to target the small minority that commits the majority of offences,” the Minister said.
“Courts will be able to order 16 to17-year-olds to wear GPS devices if they are given bail, providing an extra layer of security and increased safety for the community.
“The devices will be monitored around the clock by Queensland Corrective Services, who have extensive experience with this technology.”
Introducing GPS monitoring devices is part of a $98.4 million funding package to reduce youth crime. The project also includes:
- A trial of GPS monitoring in Townsville, North Brisbane, Moreton, Logan and the Gold Coast
- Expansion of the joint Police and Youth Justice Co-responder strike teams to North Brisbane and the Gold Coast (in addition to existing Co-Responder groups based in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Moreton and Logan)
- Enhanced intensive supervision of young people on bail through the Conditional Bail Program, including weekend and after-hours supervision
- Intensive support for families of children on bail provided by NGOs in communities
- Additional court and legal advocacy services
These changes are supported by the ability for courts to seek assurance from parents or guardians before an offender is released. For repeat offenders, these changes presume against committing a crime while on bail.
Data shows that 10% of youth offenders account for 48% of youth crime, said Minister Ryan.
“It is this group we are targeting with all the legislative and front-line strategies at our disposal,” the Minister said.
The new measures will be implemented by a Youth Crime Taskforce led by Assistant Police Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon. Former Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson will release a report on how effective these new measures have been in six months.