Justice Professor joins Queensland Attorney General to detail reforms to youth justice system

John Scott alongside the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath and Minister for Child safety, Shannon Fentiman, at a Press conference on Friday

On the 15 September School of Justice Professor, John Scott, joined the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath and Minister for Child safety, Shannon Fentiman, at a press conference in the Queensland Parliament outlining the  Palaszczuk Government’s timeline for the integration of 17-year-olds into the youth criminal system, to break the cycle of youth offending, reduce remand numbers and create safer communities.


Staged transitioning will begin in November 2017, and the Youth Justice and Other Legislation (Inclusion of 17-year-old Persons) Amendment Act will commence on 12 February 2018.

The plan also includes:

  • Supervised Bail Accommodation Services as an option for 14-17 year olds from November 2017
  • Separate zones within Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and Cleveland Youth Detention Centre for 10-13 year olds
  • Recruitment of new frontline staff for courts, community and Youth Detention Centres
  • More resources for courts, including two more magistrates, to ensure timely processes
  • Provision of after-hours legal services to young people and increased funding for Legal Aid Queensland

Mrs D’Ath said about 80% of young people in youth detention in Queensland were on remand, awaiting the outcome of their court matters. Often, this is because there is no suitable accommodation or support services for their release on supervision. The nationwide average for young people on remand is 57%.The plan will provide courts with another bail alternative, reducing their reliance on remand as a solution for youths who have no safe home to go to. Nine sites will provide specialised Bail accommodation centres at Carbrook, Camooweal, Jacobs Well, Mt Isa, Wacol, Logan Reserve and in two existing facilities in Townsville. The majority are in rural or semi-rural areas. Youth justice workers would be based at the Supervised Bail Accommodation and there will also be health, education and other services available.

Professor Scott spoke in support of the measures, but said they may not be initially popular.

“It may not win votes; it’s not an ideological initiative, it’s not a political initiative,” he said.

He said “This is Criminology 101, we need to be careful that young people are integrated back into communities and not isolated or stigmatised.”

He also noted that these initiatives would have positive impacts for rural communities and this was important, especially given rural young people faced additional challenges in terms of lack of resources and justice options.

Indigenous young people and the NSW Children’s Court: Magistrates Perceptions of the Court’s Criminal Jurisdiction

What do Children’s Court magistrates perceive as the main challenges in responding to Indigenous young people who break the law? This question has recently been examined by Crime and Justice Research Centre (CJRC) researcher Dr Kelly Richards, with colleagues Associate Professor Lorana Bartels (University of Canberra) and Dr Jane Bolitho (University of New South Wales). As part of Dr Bolitho’s et al’s Australian Research Council-funded study (the ‘National Assessment of Australia’s Children’s Courts), all Children’s Court magistrates in New South Wales were interviewed about a range of relevant issues, including the ongoing problems faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people who come into contact with the criminal justice system. The over-representation of Indigenous young people in the justice system is an urgent social justice issue, with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reporting that Indigenous young people are 24 times as likely to be in youth detention as non-Indigenous young people (see http://aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129557387). Read more

CJRC Researchers on ABC The World Today

Experts say family court keeping child abuse victims with perpetratorsclaire fergusonmolly

Dr Claire Ferguson, QUT lecturer
Associate Professor Molly Dragiewicz, QUT
Angela Lynch, Women’s legal service
Hetty Johnston, Bravehearts
Bill Potts, Qld Law Society

Listen to the podcast here

Criminologists in Australia have warned that the family court system is exposing children to abuse. New research reveals that allegations of child sexual abuse raised during divorce or domestic violence cases are often not treated seriously enough.

Katherine Gregory reported this story on Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Young people working for peace

young leaders at UN

Dr. Helen Berents, lecturer in the School of Justice, recently published

Not just victims or threats: Young people win recognition as workers for peace

in The Conversation with her colleague from RMIT.

The article discusses the UN Security Council’s adoption of Resolution 2250 on “youth, peace and security.” Berents and Pruitt argue that the resolution changes the way the UN deals with young people by recognising their agency and work in conflict and post conflict contexts.

Read the full article here.

Dr Cassandra Cross elected to the Board of Directors for Police Citizens Youth Clubs (PCYCs) Queensland


At the 2015 annual general meeting for the Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association (QPCYWA), QUT Crime and Justice Research Centre’s Dr Cassandra Cross was elected to the Board of Directors. Her appointment to the Board of Directors comes following an evaluation that her and fellow QUT colleagues launched only two weeks ago, examining the community safety and crime prevention outcomes of Police Citizen Youth Clubs (PCYCs) across Queensland, as well as her ongoing volunteering at Carindale PCYC since 2009. Read more

New Book — “Juvenile Justice: Youth and Crime in Australia (5th Ed)”

   phototonyphillips.com       Juvenile Justice : Youth and Crime in Australia - Chris Cunneen

QUT Crime and Justice Research Centre criminologist Dr Kelly Richards has released a new book with Oxford University Press, with co-authors Professors Chris Cunneen (UNSW) and Rob White (UTas). The book, Juvenile Justice: Youth and Crime in Australia, Fifth edition explores young people and crime in Australia, and provides an overview of the institutions and agencies associated with the administration of youth justice in Australia’s jurisdictions. Following detailed outlines of the historical and theoretical underpinnings of youth crime and responses to it, the book explores in-depth a range of topical youth justice issues, including: Indigenous young people’s contact with the criminal justice system; young women and crime; ethnic minority young people’s criminality; and the intersections of class, youth and crime. Responses to youth offending, such as policing measures, detention and restorative justice conferencing, are also discussed. Read more

Adjunct Professor Barry Goldson’s Latest Book: “Youth Crime and Justice”

Barry Goldson      Youth Crime and Justice

Adjunct Professor Barry Goldson from the University of Liverpool (UK) has co-edited the second edition of “Youth Crime and Justice”, comprising of a range of cutting-edge contributions from leading national and international researchers. Released earlier this year, the book:

  • Situates youth crime and youth justice within historical and social-structural contexts;
  • Critically examines policy and practice trends and their relation to knowledge and ‘evidence’; and
  • Presents a forward looking vision of a rights compliant youth justice with integrity

Topics covered include the history of youth crime and youth justice, specific focus on race and gender in the context of juvenile justice, youth crime trends, and addressing youth crime through restorative justice measures.

For more information, click here.