Courier Mail reports we need to keep our kids out of prison

June 2023

Former AFP Commissioner Mick Palmer says we must drop simplistic ‘tough on crime’ policy failure.
All Media Room

A report released this week by the Justice Reform Initiative found Queensland is churning people through an ineffective justice system propped up by $1bn annually on prison and detention facilities.

Former Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Palmer, claims that there is an opportunity for the Palaszczuk government to do what successive governments have failed to do, and adopt a smarter approach to justice reform.

He said, ‘But it must be recognised that the only way to reduce high-end crime figures and the violent behaviours of some youths is through smarter, earlier interventions which provide genuine options and pathways other than crime for young people at the earliest possible stage of their criminal pursuits.

To be effective, government must invest as much in addressing the causes as it does the symptoms.

For example, there is strong evidence showing interventions such as residential drug treatment programs can reduce future criminal offending among young people.

Research examining the impact of the Ted Noffs Foundation’s residential drug and alcohol treatment service for more than 3000 adolescents with drug and crime-related issues found those with a history of early and repeat offending benefited the most.’
‘It is entirely possible to address the drivers of incarceration – but we must first acknowledge jailing is failing and then commit to significantly resourcing genuine proven alternatives.

These community programs already exist in Queensland.

For example, the Ted Noffs Foundation’s Street University program and the YFS’s Revolve program in Logan work to divert young people away from the justice system through intensive case management, or outreach and drug and alcohol support.

They achieve dramatic reductions in offending and recidivism while improving wellbeing but too often these programs are at capacity, relying on community goodwill or piecemeal funding to achieve this disproportionate success.

Faced with a soaring prison population, the state government cannot afford to ignore the evidence,’ he concluded.

Read the full article here

Pictured: Mick Palmer AO is a former commissioner of the Australian Federal Police. Photo credit: Courier Mail