Teenagers Hold The Law In Contempt
'Teens binge on crime' by Darrell Giles (The Courier-Mail, 7/3/2010)

FOUR out of every 10 children arrested or cautioned by Queensland police have been in trouble with the law again within a year, new crime statistics reveal.

Figures obtained by the State Opposition reveal high rates of recidivism by offenders aged under 17 years.

Liberal National Party Leader John-Paul Langbroek said a "revolving door" juvenile justice system was "driving a culture of school violence, bullying and street crime". Mr Langbroek said the LNP would overhaul the juvenile justice system if it won government in 2012 and "change a culture amongst young people that is going unchecked".

The statistics show:

Mr Langbroek said a system of cautioning young offenders had backfired. He said the Labor Government's policy of "jail as a last resort" meant that almost half of all juveniles arrested were being let back out on the streets to be re-arrested later.

"Is it little wonder that some children and young people believe that crime, bullying and violence are acceptable when they see a justice system that virtually sanctions anti-social behaviour?" he said.

Mr Langbroek said three LNP reforms to the juvenile justice system would be:

LNP justice spokesman Lawrence Springborg said the reforms would be introduced within the first 100 days of an LNP government.

Other figures obtained by the Opposition showed that in 2008-09, 100 of 1249 young offenders found guilty of knife possession were sentenced to a term of imprisonment. From 2005-08, of 63 young offenders convicted of rape, 46 did not do any jail time.